From June more late takeoffs
The airport always emphasises that there are no scheduled departures after 10 pm, so why are there so many jets leaving after 11 pm?
It is indeed true that there are no regularly scheduled departures after 10 pm. However, so far this month (June 1-16, 2015) there have already been 22 departures of jet aircraft after 11 pm, spread over 11 of the 16 days. In other words, if you live under the flight path of departing aircraft then you have a 70% chance of hearing at least one take-off after 11 pm.
So what are the reasons? Unsurprisingly, with 9 takeoffs, the UK arm of easyJet is the company most to blame, since they tend to schedule flights back to the UK just before 10 pm, but these quite often leave with at least an hour delay (so much for the easyJet publicity about so many flights on time!). This is why I would never book a late easyJet departure to the UK!
Of the remaining 13, four are flights of scheduled airlines, which may sometimes have been rerouted via Geneva because of thunderstorms (June is always a bad month), and which then leave for their original destinations the same night.
So that leaves 9 other jets operating on non-scheduled flights (charters, business jets, cargo flights, even ferry flights with no passengers) for which no departure time is published. In general, enquiries about these departure times obtain no informative response.
Two particular late departures last night caught my attention. The noisier of the two was a big, old (built in 1986) and noisy Boeing 767 belonging to a South African company called Aeronexus Corporation (which does not own any other aircraft!). This aircraft came to Geneva from Armenia on 14 June, then took off for Lisbon (over Versoix) at 11h41 pm. The other was actually an Alitalia Airbus A320 which came in from Rome as an unscheduled flight, then took off at 11h47 pm to go back to Rome via Milan (there do not seem to be any regular flights from Geneva to Milan!).
Attentive readers may notice that apart from one empty flight (to Milan!), there are no late takeoffs by aircraft of easyJet Switzerland. The reason, as some annoyed passengers may have found out) is that when, for the last there and back flight of an easyJet Switzerland aircraft, the outgoing flight is so late that the return flight could not get back to Geneva before closing time (0h30), then the outgoing and return flights are both cancelled. This avoids being one aircraft short the next morning!
Since the current publicity announcement of easyJet specifically targets flights to people's holiday destinations, this means that a fair number of people could claim significant compensation for these cancellations, as well as for some flights which get them to the destination with several hours delay (sometimes on a Lyon-Geneva bus in the middle of the night). Some people may actually try to obtain this compensation, whilst others will simply accept that it is the risk when choosing cheap flights with an operator which will not normally transfer passengers to flights of a different airline.
You pays your money and you takes your choice!