The Schengen Agreement, which came into effect in Switzerland on 12 December 2008, will be applied at airports from Sunday 29 March 2009.
Accession to the Agreement, adopted by the people of Switzerland in a 2005 referendum, provides in particular for the abolition of systematic checks on individuals at the internal borders of the Schengen area and stricter controls at its external borders.
Geneva International Airport (GVA) has therefore adapted its infrastructure to meet these new requirements.
This meant setting up a mechanism to ensure the separation of passengers bound for Schengen and for non-Schengen destinations.
Aircraft parking was also changed accordingly.
These adjustments generated investments to the tune of thirty million Swiss francs. It was partly to meet Schengen requirements that GVA built a new reconfigurable satellite (satellite 10).
The old passport control points have been removed.
New control booths were built in other locations.
The pedestrian routes taken by passengers were revised and signage was brought into line.
Passengers travelling within the Schengen area must still be in possession of proof of identity, but their movement has been simplified.
For passengers travelling to or from non-Schengen airports, passport control remains in place, but at other locations. There are dedicated channels for holders of Swiss or European Union country passports.
For French sector passengers, the Air and Border Police (PAF) controls have been removed, but customs controls remain in place.
All these changes have been made with a constant concern for improved passenger comfort.