01/17/2012

A Nice Swiss problem!

Yesterday, 16 January, the late easyJet flight to Nice was cancelled. An enquiry shows that this was due to a strike by Nice employees of Swissport, affecting many flights.


Not having found any information on the web site of either Geneva or Nice airport, I guessed that it might be a strike of some sort, so I searched the Web for information. I eventually found the answer on a site destined for people working in tourism, which indicated that 33 Nice flights were cancelled and 20 others diverted to Marseille or Genoa. In addition, a number of passengers already on an aircraft due to leave Nice were blocked on the aircraft.

The information given was that it was "industrial action" of 200 employees of Swissport International Ltd., a Swiss company based in Glattbrugg, Switzerland (where Glencore is also based: must be a tax haven!) which provides ground services at airports. I have no real idea of why they struck, but it is slightly unfortunate that their company name inevitably implicates Switzerland.

It is clear that the action has, for the moment, finished, with easyJet operating a special service early the following morning: possile because the light Tuesday load leaves some of the easyJet Switzerland Geneva-based aircraft idle until later in the day.

Having read that the airline Swiss will soon be starting to run services to Nice, I decided to use the Itinerary search mechanism which can be found on the Geneva Airport Web site. This mechanism shows a zoomable map of the world, with nice red dots for all of the destinations that can be reached from Geneva: just give the travel date then click on the right one, and you can see all of the flights.

Unfortunately, Nice does not show up as a red dot, even on maximum zoom. Instead, there is a brown dot just where Nice is. Then, when clicking on this brown dot, you might get as destination airport any of Cannes, Monaco or Nice. With a very precise positioning of the screen cursor, it is possible to choose Nice, but Monaco is more likely.

So, if you find yourself choosing Monaco, you can actually get a list of the ways to get right to there: a flight to Nice and then a helicopter ride with Heli Air Monaco: slightly confusing! In addition, if the Nice flight is with a low-cost airline (normally meaning easyJet!), there is a red star to warn you that the second flight is a separate journey, not a connecting flight!

I have to say that the disappearance of the complete winter timetable from the Geneva airport Web site is to be regretted (Zurich and Basel have retained theirs!). However, there is a spreadsheet timetable available on the Geneva Aviation Web site (which probably indicates that a winter timetable in pdf format probably exists somewhere!).

 

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