The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) approved, on 13 October 2014, the plans for the construction of Genève Aéroport’s East Wing.
Ruling on an application for approval of plans submitted by the management of Geneva International Airport (AIG), the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) authorised, on 13.10.2014, the construction of new boarding lounges intended primarily for long-haul flights.
The building, known as the "East Wing", will replace the existing facilities built as a temporary measure in the second half of the 1970s. Now obsolete, they will be demolished.
The new building will be about 520 metres long, 20 metres wide and 19 metres high. These modern facilities will enable the provision of better-quality services to passengers travelling on intercontinental flights.
Travellers will be able to board planes and disembark by two air bridges (as against one now), which will help to streamline flows and, above all, will mean no more bus transfers.
The new infrastructure will also facilitate the work of the airlines operating these flights. Further details of the project can be found at www.gva.ch/aile-est
The application for approval of the plans was the subject of a consultation with the federal and cantonal authorities before being submitted to public inquiry in May 2013. At that time it prompted a number of objections, particularly from local residents and environmental protection associations. They feared that the project could encourage an increase in passenger numbers and cause both noise and atmospheric pollution.
After constructive discussions with the parties concerned in liaison with the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) and the management of Genève Aéroport, the opponents finally took a collective decision not to lodge an appeal against the project.
For the record, some of the concerns expressed by the opponents related to the architectural specifics of the project, which potentially allow airport managers to park two small aircraft at a wide-body gate.
Fearing that the East Wing would encourage growth by creating additional capacity (nine gates in optimal use, as against six now), the opponents wanted a restriction to be placed on the use of the gates.
Their request was listened to, and the management of Genève Aéroport has formally pledged not to accept more than six aircraft simultaneously. The Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has assured the opponents that the restriction on the use of the East Wing will form part of the legally binding specifications accompanying the decision to approve the plans.