Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and the most beautiful countries in the world. It comprises of 26 cantons with four official languages spoken by about 7.5 million inhabitants. Bern is the capital city and the currency remained the franc despite all the pressure by the European Union to accept Euro.
There is a medieval castle on every corner, most of which now serve as exclusive hotels. There are also many fortresses between which vast vineyards stretch. Old Towns, old charming buildings, bridges, headquarters of a number of international organizations, museums, restaurants, clubs, festivals, sports and other happenings…Switzerland offers a wide range of attractions that can satisfy everyone’s needs and tastes. Cultural and nightlife are also rich. No wonder the number of overnight stays in Swiss hotels increases every year.
German tourists, followed by the United States, remain the largest market. Others come from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and India. The main entrance to the country is, of course, through the airports.
The major airports in Switzerland are located in Bern, Zurich, Basel, and Geneva. There are three more airports serving domestic and international flights, along with some private ones. The national carrier is Swiss International Air Lines taking over 16.5 million passengers annually to 102 destinations worldwide.
Airports in Switzerland are modern, convenient and well connected with the rest of Europe and the world. Here you can find some interesting fun facts about airports in Switzerland:
- A Century of Swiss Air Traffic
The first flight to leave Swiss airspace took place on July 1921. However, the search for a site appropriate for a big airport began only 22 years later. In 1945, the federal government sold land in Kloten, near Zurich, as the most suitable one. Construction began in 1946 and the first flights took off in 1948.
The airport was opened in 1953, with a large air show. The first airport extension was completed in 1961. Ten years later, a Terminal B renovation was completed. However, in 1972 flights were forbidden during night-time due to noise becoming a major issue. The same year a new approach route was introduced and in 1976 a new runway was built. This resulted in escalated noise pollution and introduction of a noise charge in 1980.
The year 1984 brought an agreement that allowed arrivals and departures to be made over German airspace.
2. The Sounds of Switzerland
Negotiations on procedures and noise pollution over Germany and Switzerland began back in 2003 and in 2008 they were finally set up to find a solution to the problem that would be fair for both countries. This September, German aerospace centre DLR flight-tested a guidance system designed to help pilots fly complex low-noise approaches using Airbus 320 advanced technology research aircraft.
In 2003, a major extension to the airport was completed. It included a multi-story car park, a new midfield terminal and the “Skymetro”, an underground shuttle railway between terminals. During the short ride in the “Skymetro”, passengers are treated to sounds of Swiss Alps – the jolly tinkle of cowbells, the classic Swiss yodel-shout, the startling mooing of the cows, and the haunting blare of finger dock. It’s a real treat for your ears and your heart as you come to or depart from Switzerland.
3. The Location of Geneva Airport
The so-called Cointrin airport is among the oldest airports in Europe. It is located 4 km northwest of the Geneva city centre. One part of it is placed in the municipality of Le Grand-Saconnex and the other in the municipality of Meyrin. The northern limit runs along the Swiss-French border and that is what makes this airport stand out.
The Geneva airport can actually be accessed from both Switzerland and France. Passengers on flights to or from France do not have to go through Swiss customs and immigration controls but only if they remain in the French sector of the airport. Due to freight operations being accessible from both countries, Geneva is a European Union freight hub. This is especially interesting because Switzerland is not a member of the EU.
4. The Triplicity of Basel Airport
Did you find the location of Geneva airport interesting? Then the position of Basel airport will fascinate you. It is located 3.5 km northwest of Basel, 20 km southwest of Mulhouse in France and 45 km southwest of Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany. The airport is, therefore, officially known as Euro Airport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg.
It is located near the Swiss-German border but within the administrative territory of the commune of Saint-Louis in France. Unlike the Geneva airport, the Basel airport consists of one single terminal. But that doesn’t stop both countries to use it equally. Want to know one more fun fact? The busiest route from this airport is to no other than Berlin.
5. Other Traits of Airports in Switzerland
Switzerland keeps up with the times. If you happen to have a lot of spare time at the Zurich airport, don’t worry, you won’t get bored. You can shop for some gifts at the duty-free shops. And what gift could be better than good old 360 gr of Toblerone? You treated yourself, too? No worries, you can burn all those calories in the airport gym. You can also relax using spa and salon services and complete it all with a shower.
You can also go on a tour around the airport to find out what happens at the aprons, Pier A, and the Airside Center, and then go through the tunnel beneath runway 28 to Pier E. There you can get out of the bus and enjoy a close-up view of aircraft landing and taking off. It is also possible to watch the pilots in the cockpits through special multimedia binoculars from the airport’s main observation deck.
6. How to Survive the Airports in Switzerland with Children?
People with children can take advantages of Family Services rooms. Those are equipped with diaper changing tables, rooms for breastfeeding and sleeping, baby care products for sale, kitchenette with microwave and utensils, and a large playroom with toys for younger and PlayStation and computer games for older children.
You can take your kids on the self-guided SWISS Kid’s Tour, which includes a colouring book and twelve interactive learning stations. Treasure Hunt is another fun way children can pass their time at the airport. It tests their knowledge as they explore the airport in search of hidden treasures.
Do you agree that airports in Switzerland were built and developed by a highly thoughtful team of experts.