The airport was one of COBUS' first customers and set the foundation stone for the COBUS concept in 1976 when they specified and tendered the design and manufacture of a completely new airport apron bus, specialised for the specific operation features on an airport.
Until that time, the transfer of passengers from the terminal to the aircraft parking positions was made by a truck tractor train combination of double-axle Ford C700 tractors and a single axle Hänni passenger trailer. The manoeuvrability and operating features of these vehicles were not satisfactory, so that Zürich Airport was looking for a more advanced concept.
The first bus of this new concept was finally presented by two Swiss companies Carrosserie Hess AG for the body and FBW for the chassis with a Ford motor, and later NAW Nutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon took over with a Daimler Diesel motor. This vehicle already had the basic features, which are the heart of the COBUS since then, namely an aluminium profile body for corrosion protection as well as a reliable, fully low floor Mercedes chassis and Mercedes engine.
In 1990, CONTRAC GmbH as COBUS Industries was called at the time, took over the licence rights from Hess for the aluminium profiles and the concept of the bus and started the series production of COBUS airport buses.
A COBUS Industries spokesman said: "On the occasion of the airport’s 75th anniversary we are proud to present our latest development, the COBUS Vega at Zurich Airport and are very proud to be your partner for passenger transfer.
"Since the very beginning, Zurich Airport supported and challenged us, to further develop our product, keep it always on a state-of-the-art technology level and set the path into future-oriented technologies throughout the past decades of cooperation with totally 5 COBUS generations until now.
"COBUS Industries is very proud to have Zurich Airport as a high demanding and loyal customer and we look forward to continuing our trustful and fruitful cooperation also in the future."
COBUS Vega is a purpose-designed fully electric airport bus featuring a modular battery electric platform with fast charging capabilities, zero-emissions and low noise operations. In addition to the electrically driven COBUS range, the first Hydrogen driven airport bus, the COBUS Hydra, will be introduced in 2024.