Geneva Airport suspends flights after aircraft becomes stuck in the runway safety zone


At 5.55pm on Wednesday 13 December, a Jet aircraft crossing the runway became stuck in the runway safety zone. This incident paralysed traffic at Geneva Airport until 9.49pm. The airport rescue and fire-fighting service (SSLIA) quickly intervened to clear the aircraft. Although there were no injuries, Geneva Airport's crisis unit was activated.

At Geneva Airport, jet aircraft are parked on the north ramp and sometimes have to taxi to the south ramp. To do this, the pilot requires authorisation to cross the runway.

During its crossing, the aircraft bit into the grass and its wheels got stuck due to the poor weather conditions of the last few days. Normally, when an aircraft is in the safety zone of the runway, the latter is not passable for obvious safety reasons.

Several lifting techniques were used. The first winching attempt failed because of the ground conditions, so the SSLIA quickly switched to another technique, which involved lifting the aircraft with an inflatable cushion under the wing. The crane from the fire and rescue service group was also called in to provide assistance in the event that the cushion proved ineffective.

During this incident, 81 flights were affected, involving a total of 6,500 passengers. 37 on departure, affecting 3,050 passengers, and 32 on arrival, affecting 2,500 passengers. 12 flights were diverted to other airports, mainly Lyon, Zurich and Basel. These diversions affected 1,100 passengers in total. The impact of the first wave on Thursday morning was minimal, with one flight cancelled. Operations resumed as normal at 9:49pm on 13 December.

Priority was given to accommodating passengers in hotels. Geneva Airport, with the support of the Civil Protection, organised the deployment of cots to accommodate the 150 or so passengers who could not be accommodated elsewhere.

We thank our passengers for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Press Contact: 
Taline Abdel Nour
+41 76 554 64 07