100 years is a long history and a great landmark. To celebrate this jubilee, Genève Aéroport has put together a rich programme of twenty or so projects.
On 11 October 1919, the Grand Council of Geneva voted for a 137-hectare « airfield » to be constructed in the commune of Meyrin. What would later become Cointrin airport had modest beginnings: there was no concrete runway, just a dried-out marsh, two wooden hangars and a wireless radio transceiver. The airport’s destiny is closely linked to international Geneva. In 1920, the League of Nations met for the first time in the city of Calvin. The airport opened its doors to the world, and Geneva with it. One hundred years later, with 17.9 million passengers (in 2018), it's safe to say the airport has grown exponentially.
To celebrate this wonderful adventure and share 100 years of history, Genève Aéroport and its partners have put together a rich and varied programme of events. Reflecting the locals’ fondness for the airport, the slogan « Our airport, my history » (Notre aéroport, mon histoire) will be used throughout the festivities. Around twenty projects will enable families and schools, history and aviation enthusiasts, local organisations and political bodies to experience special moments at « their » airport throughout the year.
And what could be a better start to the celebrations than a ceremony? The ceremony will be held on 28 February in the old terminal building. Passengers will also enjoy entertainment throughout the day in the airport, which will be done out in its new centenary visual identity. Festive and colourful, the design was created by a student at HEAD, the Geneva School of Art & Design, who won a competition run by the airport.
Festival Antigel at the end of the runway
What would a party be without music? The Geneva Festival Antigel will open on 19 May in the airport's sound absorber space. The 2’000m2 hall, usually used for airplane engine tests and rarely open to visitors, will host a performance by Kraftwerk
, in what will be the legendary electronic music group’s one and only concert in Switzerland.
Another highlight of the festivities is the aviation festival, which will be held on 26 September. In the innovation space visitors will discover electric aviation products like SolarStratos, and rescue and firefighting exercises by Rega and SSLIA, the rescue and aircraft firefighting service. A vast array of planes, including old models like the DC-3, will be on show in a display area of 56’000m2 next to the runway. The opportunity to discover the new public terrace
The airport will also present its work and behind-the-scenes areas on 13 to 22 November, when it will be the honoured host of Les Automnales.
Looking to 2050
Celebrating a hundred years is certainly an opportunity to remember, but it's also a chance to look to the future. With this in mind, the airport, in partnership with the University of Geneva, is organising a conference on the topic of transport of the future in April. The event will be hosted by André Borschberg, famed for his airborne achievements aboard the Solar Impulse. Two other conferences, on the role of airports in combatting pandemics and on the CO2 tax, are intended on 14 May and on 30 June. In November, 150 students will come together in an interactive workshop to think about aviation of the future.
From 16 to 18 June, Genève Aéroport will have the honour of hosting the next general meeting of Airports Council International (ACI). At the event, the airport will present its action plan to reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, an ambitious programme connected to its committed environment policy.
Finally, in a sign of Genève Aéroport’s commitment to constantly adapting its infrastructure, the opening ceremony for the new East Wing will be held on 10 November. The 520m long building will be used for departures and arrivals for flights outside the Schengen area, and long-haul intercontinental flights. A hundred years on, the little Cointrin airport feels like a distant memory, yet it remains just as close to Geneva and the region.
Programme for the centenary
More information about the hundred year anniversary celebrations.
||Opening Ceremony for
the Kofi Annan Space
||Three public conferences
||University of Geneva
||Château de Ferney
||Antigel Concert with Kraftwerk
||Sound Absorber Hall,
||Brunch with local products
||Aviation Festival and new public terrace
||East Wing Opening Ceremony
||Giant workshop to think the aviation of tomorrow
||Location to be confirmed
Madeleine von Holzen, spokesperson
T +41 22 717 70 13