Air traffic has seen a significant upturn in recent weeks and the demand for passenger travel for the summer is very high. Geneva Airport, easyJet, SWISS and everyone on the platform are all set and ready to welcome passengers. Over 120 destinations are available leaving from Geneva.
Geneva Airport, easyJet, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and Skyguide have been observing an increase in the demand for air travel since February. All the indicators point towards a high level of activity this summer. The forecasts by Geneva Airport are for passenger traffic in July and August to reach 90% of the level seen in 2019, before the pandemic.
Unlike other airports in northern Europe, some of which are experiencing chaotic situations, Geneva Airport and its partners have been quick to take action to adapt to this accelerated recovery. The aim is to provide users with the best possible travel conditions, both operationally and in health terms. Locally, all the players at the airport have strengthened their teams and recruited staff to meet this demand.
Based on the experience of the Easter and Ascension Day holidays, which saw a high level of activity, various additional measures have been taken to increase both throughput and capacity. Among them, Geneva Airport has retained the possibility of opening Terminal 2 (T2) to increase capacity if the situation requires it. Flights, in particular those to Bordeaux and Nantes, will be relocated from the France sector to the international sector.
For summer 2022, the range of flights leaving from Geneva will be expanded considerably: passengers have a choice of 121 destinations in Europe and beyond, and in particular in North America, the Middle East and Africa, operated by 43 airlines. There are eleven long-haul destinations, most of which enjoy a daily service.
Careful, Covid is still present!
While all the health restrictions have now been lifted in Switzerland, the situation is not the same everywhere else. Consequently, Geneva Airport and its partners ask passengers to monitor the health situation in their destination country closely and note any formalities to be observed (mask, vaccine, test, form, etc.). A reference site, www.traveldoc.aero, and the websites and messages of the airline companies help passengers with their preparations.
Another recommendation is to arrive at the airport early. During this period, it is best to allow sufficient time for the check-in process (Covid document verification) and security checks. Geneva Airport reminds travellers that services can be purchased online on its website, in particular the Priority Lane (no queueing at security checks) and carbon offsetting.
“Together with all our partners, we have taken as many measures as possible to welcome the wave of passengers expected this summer and ensure that they enjoy a calm and relaxed visit to Geneva Airport. However, given the difficult and tense situations in some airports and control centres, last-minute flight cancellations for reasons that have nothing to do with Geneva and the local players cannot be ruled out,” explains André Schneider, General Manager of Geneva Airport. “Even so, we are looking forward to the summer with confidence. This significant upturn will help the economy recover from the crisis and ensure the long-term success of the companies on the platform.”
The summer season for easyJet and SWISS
easyJet is predicting a busy summer in Geneva, offering up to 65 destinations in July and August, including the new Geneva-Antalya service. Portugal and the Mediterranean coastal resorts continue to be favourite destinations among the residents of Geneva. At the same time, the airline is continuing to invest in renewing its fleet and since May 2022 has had a new next-generation Airbus A320Neo based in the city.
Jean-Marc Thévenaz, Executive Director of easyJet Switzerland, notes: “Demand for travel is high. In Switzerland, we anticipated this upturn by training 56 new cabin staff and two new co-pilots, who had all been pre-selected before the pandemic. To travel around Europe, our customers can now board our new next generation Airbus – an A320Neo – which is the fifth in our fleet, helping reduce the noise and CO2 emissions on the platform.”
SWISS is offering 40 flights from Geneva for the summer season, with daily services to Athens, Lisbon, Porto and London. The most popular destinations are Greece, Portugal and Spain. Overall, the booking trend is very positive. “Our aim is to offer around 85% of the flights we operated before the health crisis,” remarks Romain Vetter, Director of SWISS for Western Switzerland.
SWISS too is encouraging passengers to prepare for departure in good time, in particular by checking in online and checking the entry regulations in their destination country on the SWISS Travel Regulations platform. The company also offers SWISS passengers the AirPortr option, where luggage is picked up at home or the hotel up to 23 hours before departure, via www.swiss.com. This service allows customers to save valuable time by avoiding the check-in process on departure and not having to wait for luggage from the hold on arrival.
Skyguide looking for applicants in Geneva
European skies look set to be very busy, and Swiss air navigation service Skyguide is also prepared for the high level of air traffic expected this summer and has the necessary capacity in place. “The fall in traffic linked to the COVID period delayed students’ training. In our planning, we need to schedule resources three years in advance, because that is the length of time required to train an air traffic controller. But we are seeing a fall in the number of applicants for this training, especially in Geneva,” says Pascal Hochstrasser, the head of the control tower and approach to Geneva.
“We don't yet know why, or whether perhaps it’s a temporary trend, but we may face difficulties in the years ahead, in particular if air traffic remains as volatile as it is at present or increases more quickly than forecast,” he adds.