The new Geneva East Wing terminal

At a press conference yesterday the associations which had objected to the proposed new East Wing extension terminal withdrew their opposition.

This paper today, July 25, reports on the agreement for the EAst Wing extension of Geneva airport.

The principal reasons for the withdrawal of the opposition to the East Wing terminal redevelopment were twofold. Firstly, the airport has what is said to be a binding agreement that at any given time not more than six aircraft will use the terminal, rather than the maximum of nine which the physical configuration could handle. Secondly, the associations are convinced that there is now an acceptance by the airport that there have to be some reasonable limits to the growth, and that there has to be a constructive dialogue to consider how to reduce, or at least stabilise, the problems of sonic and atmospheric pollution and emissions of CO2.

For the crucial meeting between the airport, the Swiss Federal Aviation Office (OFAC) and the opposing associations, held earlier this month, the airport residents association, ARAG, was unable to be present because of unchangeable holiday plans. In consequence, there was apparently no discussion on a problem which ARAG regards as serious, namely the continual increase in the number of night flights. Over the last two months, during which the increase in the number of commercial flights is of the order of 4%, the number of night flights has increased by around 11%. Yes, there has been some bad weather which has led to some very late flights, but this has had only a very small influence on the number of night flights. The estimated figure for this month, July 2014, is quite likely to exceed 1000.

What is also still a matter of great concern to many people is the continued growth in the number of passengers each year. The statistics show that the number this year will almost certainly exceed 15 million. With a growth factor of between 4% and 4.5%, a continuation of this growth will lead to between 23 and 25 million passengers in 2025.

And the future developments? The airport director has for some time said that the current main terminal has to be modernised, and we were promised that information would be forthcoming in early 2014. As of right now, no information appears to have been given, though there is a clue in the LinkedIn page of the architect and project chief for airport buildings at Geneva airport. This page quotes the cost of the new East Wing construction as just over 400 million Swiss Francs, and then refers to a study for the new main terminal, given the name "Cointrin Vision". What is not (yet) mentioned, but was admitted in the meetings, is the possibility of a new North terminal between the runway and the Jura.

All in all, it is evident that continued growth at the airport is virtually certain, the only question being the rate of growth.

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