09/12/2011

On 9-11 Geneva airport closed for 30 minutes

Yesterday evening between 10h30pm and 11pm Geneva airport was closed for landings, but not for takeoffs. Had it any relation to 9-11 day?


Between 10h25 pm (landing of Swiss LX449 from London City) and 11h03 pm (landing of BA738 from London Heathrow) the Skyguide controllers had to make incoming aircraft circle around in various places. Departures, however, were not affected, so it does not look like weather-related. Being the tenth anniversary of 9-11, it is possible to imagine some security-related incident, though I have no real idea whether this is true.

20110911.jpgThis meant that the nearby residents had to suffer an unusually high number of aircraft movements after 11pm, mostly landings over Versoix. The last of these, at 0h35 (easyJet EZS1596 from Berlin) would have required a special dispensation from the airport authorities, so when eventually there is a report of this on the airport web site we might have a better idea of the incident: I doubt it, though.

Just before that Berlin return, at 0h17, another easyJet Switzerland aircraft came in, but this one (an Airbus A319 registered as HB-JZM) was empty. The curiosity of this is that the previous day (Saturday 10 September) this aircraft made two return trips to London Gatwick, then left for Marrakech as flight EZS1313 (twice unlucky 13!) but did not come back. Instead, the Marrakech-Geneva passengers had to wait a day extra whil easyJet UK flew a reserve aircraft from Gatwick to Marrakech to bring them here.

Even more strange is that the web site that tracks all commercial aircraft found no trace on Saturday of either the second Gatwick return or the Marrakech flight. This could indicate that there was some sort of a problem, perhaps with the aircraft transponder. I doubt that we will ever know, though.

The final indignation, especially in Vernier, could have been that the last takeoff was a small business jet, rather than a scheduled, yet delayed, commercial flight.

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