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Old January 3rd, 2015, 04:29 PM   #1
Vaud
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GVA | Geneva International Airport (Genève Aéroport)

Geneva International Airport (fr: Genève Aéroport, known before as Cointrin) was opened on May 21 1922 and hosts the IATA Headquarters. Its first connections were Geneva-Lausanne-Paris, Geneva-Lyon and Geneva-Zurich-Munich-Nuremberg.

It has been awarded for the 3 past years with the most efficient European airport of its category (<15 million passengers, although that figure has been reached this year) by Air Transport Research Society.



The airport hosts a single runway, the longest of its kind in Switzerland at 3,900 meters, built in 1960. As a curious fact, the runway could only be built after an agreement was reached with France to exchange a piece of territory since the runway wouldn't otherwise fit entirely in Switzerland. In compensation, the airport has a french sector in its terminals, and therefore flights incoming/outgoing from/to France are considered domestic and a segregated road leads to the airport from France without crossing the Swiss customs.

A turnaround occurred in 1996 when Swissair decided to abandon all the intercontinental routes departing from Geneva except for New York and Washington (that is, all the african destinations). The airport then requested the Swiss Federal Government to implement an open skies policy for Geneva and abolish the legal monopoly enjoyed by Swissair; SWISS returned to the airport later on, but ever since then, the genevan people haven't had a good relationship with the airline, although its efforts to expand its destinations are improving that image.

Today and following the open skies policy, Geneva Airport deserves 110 direct destinations from 54 airlines. The list of destinations has continually increased for the past years and is set to keep increasing in the future (for 2015, among others, the following destinations have been already announced (not necessarily new ones): Bologna, Palermo, Figari, Mahon, Santorini with Easyjet; Antwerp with VLM Airlines; Florence, Valencia, Sarajevo, Skopje, Palermo, Calvi, Thessaloniki, and Zakinthos with SWISS; Barcelona with Vueling).



Access to the airport is provided by highways; It's directly connected to the rest of Switzerland by the A1 highway and France via the A40:



As well as public transport. It has its own railway station from the Swiss Federal Railways (CFF) located right besides the main terminal with trains regularly departing to the rest of Switzerland, towards Neuchâtel, Lausanne-Fribourg-Berne-Zurich, and Lausanne-Vevey-Montreux-Sion-Brig (and stopping in all cases in Geneva main train station located in the city centre, which lies only 7 minutes away from the airport by train). Geneva train station is also connected via HSR to France and will soon enjoy a new suburban rail network covering much of the city and connecting it to its french southern neighbours (the CEVA).

Here's a map I made myself on connectivity of the airport. Yellow arrow: Location of Geneva airport. Cities in purple: Train stations with direct trains from/to Geneva Airport. Orange: Same as purple but only for very early/late trains that stop more often.



It is also served by several Genevan public transport lines such as trolley line 10.

Public transport to the city is free for the first 80 minutes for passengers leaving the airport (tickets are available at the baggage claim area).
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 04:43 PM   #2
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The airport has left behind the mark of 15 million passengers this December 2014 for the first time in its history , having continually increased the figures for the past few years (8 million passengers in 2003, 9.5 millions in 2005, 10 million in 2007, 11 million in 2008, 12 million in 2011, 13 million in 2012).

The passengers are all essentially O/D, which means that GVA has about as many O/D passengers as its larger Swiss brother Zurich (around 16.5 million O/D, or 2/3 of its total passengers) which might be surprising considered the different size of both the catchment area of both airports and the cities sizes.



The reason for Geneva (whose metropolitan area has around 800,000 inhabitants) being such a big destination is explained by several factors:

- The large number of international organisations in the Geneva area, including the second largest United Nations' HQ; the main HQ of some other UN-related organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the International Telecommunications Union, the World Meteorological Organisation and so on; the World Trade Organisation; the International Olympic Committee; the CERN; the Red Cross, or the UEFA.

- Tourism, such as skiing in winter since the airport is the main entrance to the northern french alps (Chamonix lays 1.5 hours away by car) as well as Vaud and Valais Swiss alps (Verbier, Crans-Montana, Zermatt etc.), several big events such as the Geneva Motor Show or the SIHH (high level watchmaking international show) and middle eastern tourists who have been attached to Geneva for a long time. Additionally Geneva is a destination of its own and has been recently awarded the "Leading City Break destination" of 2014 by World Travel Awards.

A map of ski stations around here



- Business, since the city hosts some big corporations particularly important in the fields of trading (such as Cargill, Trafigura, Bunge, Rosneft, Louis Dreyfus or MSC), wealth management (being the local private banking HQ for many foreign banks such as HSBC, BPN Paribas or Merril Lynch or the HQ of several local banks such as UBP, Pictet and Lombard Odier), luxury goods and watchmaking (Richemont, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard) and hosting in its catchment area several big corporations local European, ME and Africa HQ (such as P&G, Japan Tobacco, Philipp Morris or L'Oréal) and other big companies such as Nestlé.
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 08:34 PM   #3
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An agreement was reached few months ago with the neighbours of the airport to start building the new east terminal for large aircraft which will replace the existing "provisional" terminal built in the 1970's. It will have sufficient capacity to receive 6 two-aisle aircraft simultaneously (compared to 3 today + 3 non-contact remote positions). The agreement reached was to limit the number of aircraft to 6, given that 3 of the positions can also receive smaller aircraft and therefore the theoretical maximum would have been of 9 simultaneous aircraft (3 two-aisle + 6 single-aisle planes).

This is the location of the new terminal:



Here are some pictures of it:

The location of the planes (notice the possibility to receive the 9 planes)



And some images of its future looks as retrieved from the website:









It's a huge advance in terms of both capacity... and looks, since the current terminal is quite... miserable, it feels indeed provisional which is not quite at the standard of the rest of the airport or what Geneva brand aims to transmit.
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 09:42 PM   #4
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I never thought that GVA had about 15 millions passengers a year...
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Old January 4th, 2015, 12:53 AM   #5
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I didn't realise the airport was built in a built up area.
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Old January 4th, 2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EK413 View Post
I didn't realise the airport was built in a built up area.
Well, hardly any part of the Canton of Geneva isn't built up nowadays (282 square km, 480,000 inhabitants), the airport itself occupies 1% of the total surface of the canton.

Of course when the site was chosen in 1920 the area was mostly empty, here's the airport in the 50s:





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Old January 12th, 2015, 06:39 PM   #7
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While waiting for the 2014's detailed figures, here's some of the 2013's interesting figures as extracted from the annual report.

Passengers by airport of destination:



And the largest 15 destinations all airports added (Paris, London, Moscow...)



Passengers by airline



And share of the main airlines and alliances:




As a curious fact, Easyjet operating in Switzerland (Geneva and Basel) , which is virtually the only low-cost airline operating in the airport, is the only separate airline operating under the EasyJet plc umbrella. It owns 25 planes (22 of which are registered in Switzerland) and is based in Meyrin, close to Geneva airport. EasyJet owns 49% of the company, the rest being in the hands of private investors.

In order to fight EasyJet, SWISS introduced special fares in Geneva, called "Geneva fares" which are meant to be the cheap option below the normal tourist fare (for example it allows passengers on selected routes to choose a fare where registered baggage is not automatically included, and one-way tickets are no penalised). This is not applied to all routes, e.g. Barcelona is not included given its popularity.

Some destinations can be bought for as low as 39 francs, see full list in here: : http://www.swiss.com/switzerland/en/...es-from-geneva

There aren't many advantages compared to a low-cost airline save for the free meals offered onboard. However being a traditional airline (and a good one) it does offer a better customer experience. For example a while ago on a flight from Barcelona i flew with EasyJet late at night; a SWISS flight was scheduled for departure 5 minutes before us. Geneva airport ceases operations at 11pm, and that day there was intense fog, so planes had to leave a greater distance between each other and so late flights were delayed. SWISS decided to cancel the flight and relocate everyone to a hotel... us poor people in EasyJet were left to wait in the plane then brought to Lyon where buses brought us to Geneva... arriving at 4 am.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 08:56 PM   #8
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Figures for 2014

15,152,927 +5,0%
http://www.gva.ch/de/portaldata/1/st...e-aeroport.pdf
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 12:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaud View Post
The airport hosts a single runway, the longest of its kind in Switzerland at 3,900 meters, built in 1960. As a curious fact, the runway could only be built after an agreement was reached with France to exchange a piece of territory since the runway wouldn't otherwise fit entirely in Switzerland.
If anyone's interested, here's the territory exchanged with France in order to build the longer runway

source


legend: territoire cédé par la Suisse = land given by Switzerland; territoire cédé par la France = the territory given to Switzerland by France

Here's the situation nowadays (the red line is the border separating both countries)
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Old January 25th, 2015, 05:43 AM   #10
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The new terminal building looked like typical Swiss airport - simple and not so many things added. Same like you see BSL or ZRH

I've been there for many times and yap, the airport need more space to accommodate passengers. In an early morning, the boarding lounge can sometimes "converted" into a small chaotic area. Many peoples are cutting-lines on the security check because the queue is really long and most of the flight are quite early (Specially the easy jet flight one)

Geneva is a perfect choice for those who living in francophone cantons, since ZRH is quite far and took around 3 hours by trains.
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Old January 25th, 2015, 08:27 AM   #11
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Swiss International Airlines A330-300 (reg. HB-JHI) -- with an Airport Apron Bus, "Switzerland: Discover the Plus"

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Old January 25th, 2015, 08:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sasamakan View Post
The new terminal building looked like typical Swiss airport - simple and not so many things added. Same like you see BSL or ZRH

I've been there for many times and yap, the airport need more space to accommodate passengers. In an early morning, the boarding lounge can sometimes "converted" into a small chaotic area. Many peoples are cutting-lines on the security check because the queue is really long and most of the flight are quite early (Specially the easy jet flight one)
Which is why very recently the airport has increased by the 3 the number of security lines (to 17) by demolishing and freeing the space of a shop located next to the existing area. They have also rearranged the existing ones. The fluidity has increased very much, but in the future at the current pace of passenger numbers increases it will again be insufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sasamakan View Post
Geneva is a perfect choice for those who living in francophone cantons, since ZRH is quite far and took around 3 hours by trains.
I hate such comparisons. What do you mean by "since"? Geneva lies 3 hours away from train from Paris and from Zurich. Of course if either CDG or ZRH were closer to GVA, the overlapping of their customer bases would be more noticeable. If both GVA and ZRH were closer, there would be more customers willing to use one airport or the other independently of the time to get there, and given that Easyjet only operates in Geneva and that SWISS applies lower fares in Geneva, I bet the airport that has most to gain from such a scenario would be Geneva, not Zurich.

Nowadays not even long-distance flights are much of an issue since the arrival of the middle-eastern airlines (Qatar, Emirates and Etihad all fly to Geneva). For example to go to Sydney you need one stop in between independently of the airport you choose to depart from.

I'm not even sure of your statement on the catchment area. Of the french cantons, sure, Geneva airport lies closer to residents in Geneva, Vaud, Valais (incl. the 1/3 german speakers of that canton) and Neuchâtel. In the latter the difference to get by train to each airport is only of 30 min in favor of Geneva. However, Fribourg lies half-way in between both airports and Jura is closer to Zurich (yet again they probably prefer Basle).

Here's the approximate distance by car.



And the same for Zurich
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Old January 26th, 2015, 07:28 AM   #13
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It is really interesting that despite its small size, it carries so many airlines that it also gets quite a bit of long-haul services... however, it seems that it only has limited service to and from North America, especially that Zurich takes in a lot more of such services. With those maps, however, I can really see Geneva's impact as a major airport, given its proximity to several major cities like Lille (F), Bern (CH), and Turin (I). And I am definitely pleased by the efficient design it has, something I'd love to emulate for smaller airports.
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Old January 28th, 2015, 09:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams View Post
It is really interesting that despite its small size, it carries so many airlines that it also gets quite a bit of long-haul services... however, it seems that it only has limited service to and from North America, especially that Zurich takes in a lot more of such services. With those maps, however, I can really see Geneva's impact as a major airport, given its proximity to several major cities like Lille (F), Bern (CH), and Turin (I). And I am definitely pleased by the efficient design it has, something I'd love to emulate for smaller airports.
You can only fly to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Fran and Toronto as direct destinations unavailable from GVA and available from ZRH. Hardly not a lot but I would love to see at least LAX or SFO from GVA. However, before those ones I would rather prefer to see more additions of Asian destinations such as Tokyo, Delhi or HKG.

I wonder what the planeloads of Air China to Beijing are, but I can't seem to find the information anywhere, anyone knows whether they publish figures by route?

As for the cities you mention, none is actually close to Geneva Bern is a whole lot closer to Zurich (1h20 by train to Zurich airport vs 2h to Geneva), Turin is on the other side of the Alps, and Lille is like 700km away. Lausanne is quite close though, and it is larger than Bern

In the meanwhile, SWISS has just announced a new destination for 2015, Biarritz.
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Old March 8th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #15
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Other than Biarritz, here are some of the other changes in routes announced so far during 2015

SWISS now will fly to Dublin and Alger (both already deserved from GVA)
Addition of a second daily flight on the route to Warsaw with LOT
New route to Antwerp with two daily flights from VLM Airlines
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Old March 9th, 2015, 12:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams View Post
It is really interesting that despite its small size, it carries so many airlines that it also gets quite a bit of long-haul services... however, it seems that it only has limited service to and from North America, especially that Zurich takes in a lot more of such services. With those maps, however, I can really see Geneva's impact as a major airport, given its proximity to several major cities like Lille (F), Bern (CH), and Turin (I). And I am definitely pleased by the efficient design it has, something I'd love to emulate for smaller airports.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaud View Post
You can only fly to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Fran and Toronto as direct destinations unavailable from GVA and available from ZRH. Hardly not a lot but I would love to see at least LAX or SFO from GVA. However, before those ones I would rather prefer to see more additions of Asian destinations such as Tokyo, Delhi or HKG.

I wonder what the planeloads of Air China to Beijing are, but I can't seem to find the information anywhere, anyone knows whether they publish figures by route?

As for the cities you mention, none is actually close to Geneva Bern is a whole lot closer to Zurich (1h20 by train to Zurich airport vs 2h to Geneva), Turin is on the other side of the Alps, and Lille is like 700km away. Lausanne is quite close though, and it is larger than Bern

In the meanwhile, SWISS has just announced a new destination for 2015, Biarritz.
Guess he was talking about LYON, not Lille...
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Old March 30th, 2015, 09:04 PM   #17
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There was an interview to the general director of the airport today in Tribune de Genève, see link in here: TdG

Some of the main points:

1- The airport expects to receive around 25 million passengers/year by 2030 or 235,000 movements. They are taking the example of Gatwick as a model to follow, since Geneva is well aware that it is impossible to have a second runway. Therefore they aim to reduce the time spent by planes on the runway (in fact, there are already plans to build more entries and exits), build more places on the tarmac, increase the capacity of the terminal buildings and the frequency of public transportation to the airport.

According to him, during some winter days they already face such high levels of transit with over 600 movements and 75K passengers per day, so it's not at all an impossible scenario.

2- The new east terminal (see one of my posts above) will begin to be built in 2016 after the tender is allocated in 2015. It was budgeted at 350 million francs but it seems they might be able to reduce the cost.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 10:57 AM   #18
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Any other informations and pictures abot GVA?
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Old March 27th, 2016, 07:28 PM   #19
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Question:
Is Geneva Airport smack in the between both Switzerland and France? Or is all of it still within Switzerland territory? (e.g. it's just in close proximity to the Swiss-French border)

When you exit this door, are you already in France? Or not yet? (e.g. you are still on Swiss ground)



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Old April 1st, 2016, 04:50 PM   #20
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As I explained in post #9, the airport is built completely within Switzerland following an exchange of territories between Switzerland and France.

However, in order to approve the exchange of territories, Geneva had to accept building a road that leaves the canton towards France without having to pass through Swiss customs and building a "french terminal", and so flights to/from France are considered domestic.
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