She was the face of Zurich airport

We Sonja Zöchling meeting under the big scoreboard at the Check-in 1. Here, at this historic place that receives the airport, spokeswoman for your guests most o

She was the face of Zurich airport

We Sonja Zöchling meeting under the big scoreboard at the Check-in 1. Here, at this historic place that receives the airport, spokeswoman for your guests most of the time. Here she was also in the 2. October 2001 16.17 PM. Anyone who expected any of you don't know any more. But she still remembers exactly how they are befuddled along with countless passengers on the big scoreboard stared, at the time still from rattling single layer stock. In addition to each of the Swissair flight was to read, in yellow letters, "cancelled" too. Cancelled. And then the announcement came: "ladies and gentlemen, dear passengers, for financial reasons, Swissair is no longer able to get their flights to perform."

The rattling Board from back then is long since a digital copy has been replaced. On the day we meet Zöchling, runs the air traffic smoothly, but the normal times are not now. The Coronavirus is rampant, everywhere in the airport, a dispenser with disinfectant, Swiss and Lufthansa together cancel flights and Zöchling says, shaking his head: "A bit quiet, I imagined my farewell already."

Sonja Zöchling, gentle voice, unmistakable Winterthur dialect, never a hearty Laugh embarrassed, this surprisingly small woman is one of the biggest in their industry. Five times it has been the media spokesperson of the year, which is a record. She has accompanied a all the journalists generation through the turmoil of airport policy, and runway numbers.

Never an answer lay

For 32 years, she has worked in the communication. For many people, it is the face of the airport per se. They explained that their former bosses "have always sent me in front of the cameras." That they took over in 2008, the management of the communication Department, nobody was surprised.

early on, Zöchling made a name for themselves, because they can answer a lot of questions off the cuff, without the need for internal demands. This has to do with the experience, but also with Zöchlings career. As a Teenager, she dropped out of high school, "although I was insanely happy at school". Her dream job was teacher, and when she talks about, thinks clearly, the listener: Yeah, the fit would have. You can't imagine Zöchling well in the midst of a crowd of children, patiently explaining, to understand what the Small.

That once journalists have to explain the questions to the air traffic would not suspect the young woman at the time. She completed a commercial apprenticeship, worked for a few years at a real estate company, and dreamed of moving in with her husband, a photographer, to Greece. Finally, she hired as a tour guide in Crete, worked in between, temporarily, in all sorts of Enterprises, "because I've learned to be flexible and to capture relationships quickly". In 1986, the then airport chief Hans Peter staffelbach was the 30-Year-old as an assistant – so she was not yet as an elected official, as you noted. The airport was operating at that time a state. The Job satisfied Zöchling not completely, "I had too little to do". So they looked internally, switched to the communication. Boring you have become since then, never more.

Dramatic events

Zöchling has not witnessed only the high points, but also dramatic events in the Swiss air traffic. The end of Swissair was just one of them. She was called two years in the case of communication, as your supervisor and to the office for debriefing. An Alitalia flight was crashed into in the Stadler mountain. "You know, of course, in the back of my head that such a thing can happen," says Zöchling, "but really you can't prepare for."

"as soon As one makes pictures in your head, you lost."Sonja Zöchling

in 1998, crashed a Swissair machine at Halifax into the sea, in the year 2000, a Crossair machine crashed after takeoff in Niederhasli, and not two years later, another Crossair machine hit a stick on the landing approach at Bassersdorf the trees and crashed. How do you deal with it? You could get used to such things, says Zöchling. Checklists help, and that you, as a media spokesperson for information only, but not on-site must be: "as soon As one makes pictures in your head, you lost."

that's Why she attacks another event more shaken than any of the crash: the attack in Luxor, when six terrorists, members of a group with automatic weapons. 62 people in November 1997 killed, 36 were Swiss. The coffins of the victims were brought by a special flight home, and the airport is organised in a shipyard hall, a funeral. "All the coffins were there, it was a depressing atmosphere, which killed me almost," says Zöchling. And then the media were there at the end, the tried, despite the Barrier, to reach the coffins: "This has me stressed out." It sounds to shaken.

Dear Zöchling told by Positive. Of the 50-year Celebration, for example, as they locked the longest runway, to get a number of vintage aircraft such as the Concorde and Super Constellation set up. The memory makes her eyes light up: "On the day before, as all the pilots landed, it was raining twine, but the next day I got up in the morning to six at the airport and saw the sunrise, it was beautiful."

"I could not represent any company, behind which I stand."Sonja Zöchling

If you explained how important this airport is for Switzerland, as it strives to remain economically successful, and to take into consideration the concerns of the residents, she leaves no doubt that she is convinced of what she says. Loyal, Yes, she was, but: "I could not represent any company, behind which I stand." They, the flies only occasionally thought, not a single Time: What must I tell here, is the mischief? "To be quite honest: no. Never."

to display The airport in a positive light, is important to her, but it is a grueling task, the communication to the boss. In the years in which the policy is struggling because of German restrictions on new flight routes, you must Zöchling from her home town of Winterthur, a lot of corners – the East is affected in addition to to the South most of the new routes. The criticism from the media, residents, and policy is often fierce. Since blazing world views to each other, sober facts meet emotions. And if today is, what yesterday seemed yet certainly, if flight routes are possible, no one would have ever thought possible, then the accusation of obfuscation is not far.

"Not without Sonja"

Sonja Zöchling remained such accusations, surprisingly, never hang. "People have believed in me always," she says. Why is that? "I've always tried to be authentic." Clearly she is still fast her hair before she steps in front of a camera. "But it is important not to me, whether I was at the hairdressers." Important what she has to say is her. And can you do with all the politeness a lot.

Also in the handling of the carpet days. Four airport bosses have you seen Hans Peter Staffelbach, Josef Felber, Thomas Kern, and Stephan Illegal. Zöchling is known for this men's of course, what you can say and what is not. "Not without Sonja" was a dictum of Thomas core, of the appreciated his communications Director, exactly, you slowed him sometimes, when he chatted quite openly about not-yet-Mature projects. Evil tongues say, Zöchling was the true Boss, which she tells with a mixture of humour and indignation: "I hope that I have given this impression."

That Zöchling stops at the end of March, it is hard to imagine. She laughs about it and says: "I am very happy." You, who already speaks English, French, Spanish and Greek, now wants to learn Italian.

Created: 10.03.2020, 06:15 PM

Updated Date: 10 March 2020, 06:00

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