Kloten and Germany, Cointrin and France

Switzerland and Germany have provisionally agreed upon the future of flights at Zurich Kloten Airport. What if such an agreement was to be negociated for flights in Geneva?

The provisional agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the parliaments of both countries, has the effect that there will not be a limitation on the annual number of flights operating out of Kloten. In return for this concession by the German government, the main concession by the Swiss is that the incoming evening (from 6pm) flights which currently pass over German territory on their way to land will have to stay over Switzerland.

Although the newspapers have shown some flight paths, I found it interesting to look at what is currently happening at Zurich. I went back to a week ago to pick up the hourly trajectory plots for landings, available via the EANS Web site. To be simple, I chose the three hours starting at 8pm, 9 pm and 11 pm respectively. The hour from 8 pm to 9 pm shows the flights coming in over Germany, before turning South to land.


At 9 pm currently, this is no longer allowed, so the incoming flights have to go to the east of the airport and land on a different runway: one of the runways which will neede to be lengthened.


The hour from 10 pm is similar to the previous hour, though with a little less traffic. After that, we enter into the period where Zurich airport management no longer permits scheduled flights, so that from 11 pm to midnight is rather empty.


All of this will still be at risk from objections by the Swiss residents living around the airport, in particular those in the canton of  Aarau. We can already see that in Germany there is a strong protestation over airport expansion. Frankfurt people are regularly demonstrating because the new fourth runway has led to more extra noise than they had been led to believe, whilst in Munich the citizens have voted against a new runway. Doubtless, the good citizens of Aarau will make their feelings known in a typically forthright manner.

I tried to see what might be a parallel if both the French Government and the residents living around Geneva airport behaved in a similar strong manner. This might be the following :-

  • Flights taking off would not, after 6 pm, be allowed to make a rapid 180° turn to the North over the region of St Genis, Gex and Divonne.
  • Incoming flights coming down the lake would not be allowed to fly directly over Nernier, but would have to stay near the centre of the lake.
  • Incoming regular night flights could not be scheduled for after 11 pm, and would be diverted (to Lyon!) if they would land after 11h30.

Now, wouldn't that be nice!


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