Geneva International Airport, located 2.5 miles northwest of the city center in Geneva, Switzerland, is known formally as Genève Aéroport. The airport has two passenger terminals. Terminal 1, the main concourse, has five spokes divided into Piers A, B, C, D and F. At Schengen gates passengers are not subject to passport checks. Similarly, Pier F, known as the French section is solely for travel between the nearby French region of Pays de Gex, allowing passengers to avoid Swiss customs. This section, which has two gates with jet bridges, exists thanks to an agreement between France and the Canton of Geneva.
The new Aile Est terminal project modernizes and extends Pier C in T1 to accommodate up to six widebody aircraft simultaneously. The project will also include a gate to accommodate the jumbo Airbus A380. Terminal 2, the airport’s original terminal, is used only during the winter and has limited facilities. During 2011, 189,121 flights operated to and from Geneva International Airport carrying 13,130,222 passengers. 72,000 tons of freight, including postal service, passed through Geneva International’s cargo facilities in 2011. Fifty-four airlines operate 1,000 weekly commercial flights from the airport.
For security purposes, Terminal 1 is closed overnight from midnight to 4 a.m. The French sector is closed from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Most airlines serving Geneva International recommend checking in at least two hours prior to a flight. Some airlines provide baggage check-in the day prior to flying. Express check-in kiosks are also scattered throughout the airport. Passengers are requested to be at the gate at least 30 minutes prior to departure.
Geneva International was established in Coitrin in 1919 as a simple airfield. Six airlines operated from the airfield in 1930. The first permanent runway was built in 1937. By the following year, eight airlines operated out of Geneva International. All flights from Switzerland were banned during World War II. Following the war, the single runway was lengthened and an agreement was reached to build the present day T2. That terminal opened in 1846. The first transatlantic flight to New York started in 1947, while the first jet aircraft to fly into Geneva arrived in 1958. In May 1968, the current T1 was opened and designed to serve seven million passengers per year, a mark that was achieved in 1985.