New Delhi, May 27, 2018: Switzerland ranks fifth in Europe in number of business aviation departures, according to year-end 2017 statistics published in the EBAA’s Economic Report for the year. Geneva Cointrin Airport, the host of EBACE, accounted for more than 17,000 of the approximately 46,000 private flights. Many of those aircraft were sheltered at Geneva Airpark, the airport’s only dedicated business aviation hangar. While FBOs there may have their own hangars, that space is largely reserved for maintenance activities, leaving the airpark as the only option for customers seeking aircraft shelter.
Established in 2009, the 10,000-sq-m (107,639-sq-ft) facility is large enough to fit a pair of Boeing 747s, and is home to 20 private jets ranging from a G650 to a Phenom 300, each on an annual contract guaranteeing them space, as well as any transient aircraft that require hangarage while in Geneva. According to Sophie Mabire, the facility’s general manager, it is normally at 90 percent capacity, and over the past year, it has seen a 20 percent increase in transient aircraft. “We used to host mostly Falcon 900s and 2000s, and now the trend really is for Global Expresses and G650s. That’s effectively where the most important increase came from,” she told AIN. Those larger aircraft may cut down on the numbers the facility can handle, yet the company has no current plans for expansion, due primarily to lack of available space at the airport.
Upon landing in Geneva, the typical private aircraft slated to be hangared will taxi to the airpark’s ramp, where a car from one of the local ground handlers will meet it and pick up the passengers. Passengers are not permitted to exit the airport through the hangar, and all must transit the business aviation terminal, where customs is located according to ainonline.com.
The secure, heated Geneva Airpark hangar has no crew or passenger lounges, and provides only aircraft-related services such as towing, with its fleet of five Lektro tugs, or water and lavatory service. It also added in-house dishwashing and linen service, as well as aircraft cleaning.
The facility is open generally from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., corresponding with the airport’s official business aviation hours, but in instances of an early morning departure, or late arrival, its staff of 13 will open on request. “We’ll never leave an aircraft outside on the ramp,” said Mabire.
She noted the winter months are peak season, as aircraft owners seeking to avoid deicing and associated fees fill the hangar, while summer is the quietest period. Annual events such as the automobile show and EBACE serve to spike demand as well during the spring.
Mabire said the company will launch a “quality observatory” later this month, sending questionnaires out to its customer base to help determine what services they wish to see added at the hangar.