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Officially known as Genève Aéroport, Geneva Airport is located some 2.5 miles / 4 km northwest of Geneva city centre. Served by excellent transport connections via motorways, bus and railway networks, the airport is accessibly by France and Switzerland, since it lies just along the border of both countries. Last year some 13.1 million passengers were handled.
Geneva Airport has one single, concrete runway, which happens to be the longest runway in Switzerland with a length of 12,795 ft / 3,900 m. It is a major hub for various airlines such as budget carrier Easyjet and Darwin Airline for example, but is also used by carrier Swiss International Air Lines.
As the world headquarters of the Airports Council International and as a host to the office of the International Air Transport Association, Geneva Airport prides itself on providing excellent passenger services. There are two passenger terminals. Terminal 1 is usually referred to as the Main terminal (M) and has 5 different piers: A, B, C, D and F, of which pier A and some of the gates at pier D are used for Schengen routes. Gates at pier B and C and various gates at pier D are designated for flights outside the Schengen area.
Terminal expansion and upgrading will see pier C completely redeveloped, so that it is able to accommodate a total of six wide body aircraft such as the Airbus A380. Pier F lies in the French sector of the airport, where passengers flying to or arriving from France flights do not need to go through Swiss customs or immigration controls.
The older Terminal 2 comes mainly into its own during the winter, when charter flights need additional check-in facilities. Dating back to the original layout of the airport, Terminal 2 offers fewer amenities to passengers. There is just one eatery, no duty free shops at all and there’s only a check-in service, which still requires passengers to take a bus to the Main Terminal for their flights.
A large number of flights are seasonal, offering flights to Biarritz, Cork, London-Gatwick and London City for example. Airlines using Geneva Airport include the aforementioned as well as Air Malta, Air Canada, Aeroflot, BmiBaby, British Airways, Austrian Airlines, Emirates, Czech Airlines, Iberia, KLM and Jet2.com among many others.
A railway station provides onward travel to Geneva-Cornavin station as well as other major cities in Switzerland. Buses to ski resorts like Chamonix in France run only during the winter sport season, but local bus lines serve the airport and city of Geneva at regular intervals, while just outside the Main Terminals passengers can also board taxis at the official taxi rank.
Passengers arriving at Geneva are even given the option to use public transport for free, as they can obtain free 80 minute tickets for Transports Publics Genevois from ticket machines stationed in the area before customs. These tickets allow free use of city buses and trains to Geneva city centre.
The airport is surrounded by fields and flanked on one side by the Jura Mountains. In the past there were a number of incidents, when aircraft crashed into the famous Mont Blanc Mountain, but modern technology has helped enormously to make flights over the mountains considerably safer today.
Passengers have the use of more than 80 shops and restaurants which are open seven days a week all year round. Long and short term parking with both covered and open air car parking facilities are also provided and there is free internet access via WiFi in the Main Terminal. It is possible to check-in online, cutting down on the waiting time at Geneva Airport and a VIPS service allows passengers to use private lounges and receive a more personalised welcome. There are banks, various ATMs dispensing cash, currency exchange desks, a tax refund counter and a counter where travellers’ cheques can be redeemed for cash also.
A post office and dry cleaning and laundry services take care of last minute necessities. Guests with just a few hours to spare in the city of Geneva can deposit their luggage at a counter and tired passengers can refresh with a shower, a visit to the hairdresser or to the wellness area with solarium and meditation room to regain their vitality. There are numerous restaurants, tea-rooms, bars, cafes and snack bars where passengers can get refreshments.
Some airport hotels also offer free shuttle bus services, which pick up passengers from outside the Main Terminal. It is even possible to walk to the city centre or take a bike on a specially designated cyclist and pedestrian route. Various well known car rental companies serve the airport, too.
For more information about Geneva Airport, please visit the official airport website at www.gva.ch.