On Thursday, 20 November 2008, Geneva International Airport inaugurated its satellite 10, which complements its existing boarding lounges and will enable it address the constraints arising from the upcoming implementation of the Schengen agreements. It will be put into service on 25 November 2008.
In January 2007, GVA submitted its master plan for the period 2007-2015, providing for the extension of the arrivals, check-in and departures halls, and the reconfiguration of all the commercial and restaurant areas in the terminal.
The greater than expected increase in passenger traffic in 2007 (+9.5%), and also the constraints resulting from the introduction of the Schengen arrangements in Swiss airports in the Spring of 2009, meant there was a need to build additional boarding lounges. The solution adopted was that of an additional satellite, built to the south-west of the three existing ones.
The satellite was designed as a "bus gate", i.e. it will be used only for aircraft parked "off terminal", where passengers are transported by bus. It is connected to satellite 20 by a tunnel. Passengers will therefore reach the apron on the lower level, which has a bar and shops, including a "tax free shop." Passengers bound for the Schengen area will have direct access to the two upper levels forming the boarding lounges, while those bound for a non-Schengen area will first complete departure border-control formalities.
The two boarding lounge levels can be divided into two by a set of doors to form Schengen or non-Schengen areas as needed. The satellite is designed to receive up to 1,000 passengers an hour.
It should be noted that the building work, the construction permit for which was obtained in October 2007, will have taken barely a year, and the cost of the whole facility (total floor area 4,928 m2) is CHF 24 million.
During the inauguration, Robert Deillon, Managing Director of AIG, stressed that "passenger comfort and well-being were central to our approach; everything was designed to make waiting a more pleasant experience.
The building also meets all the latest energy requirements. It will even be equipped with solar panels next year to provide a significant proportion of its power supply."
For his part, Mr. Francois Longchamp, State Councillor and Chairman of the Board of GVA, noted that this achievement was just one stage out of many current worksites. "These sites are very important for the Airport, and thus necessary for Geneva and its whole region", he said. "All these improvements will enhance the Airport's reception capacity, and thus strengthen the economic fabric that allows us to have air services that are unique in Europe for a population catchment area like ours."