Reduced impact for airport passengers

While security will be greatly enhanced when the American and Russian presidents come to Geneva, travelers and Cointrin’s activities will not be upset.

The US presidential plane Air Force One on the tarmac at Geneva airport in 2011.

© Olivier Vogelsang / TDG
The US presidential plane Air Force One on the tarmac at Geneva airport in 2011.

The diplomatic and security whirlwind that awaits Geneva early next week, with the summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutine, should not disturb the smooth running of Genève Aéroport too much.

Regular flights maintained

In terms of air traffic, the Federal Council must specify on Friday the regime of exclusion zones for private planes or drones, in particular. But they will not concern commercial flights, which will continue almost normally in Cointrin. “They will only be suspended about 15 minutes before and after the landing and take-off of American and Russian aircraft,” specifies Ignace Jeannerat, spokesperson for Geneva airport.

Airlines have been warned. “Everything will be done a little at the last moment, since we will know only late the precise arrival and departure times of the presidential planes.” This could cause some slight delays for passengers on commercial flights, nothing more, assures Cointrin.

Open shops

Delegations will not use the usual airport access. They will indeed take one of the guarded and kept secret road exits which open directly onto the tarmac. Security will be reinforced in the terminals; but also close to the runway, with the presence of agents “who are usually not there”. The management of Cointrin also reminded its employees on the ground that taking photos or videos was prohibited. The international police, the cantonal security forces and the army will be on alert. For obvious safety reasons, Cointrin does not intend to describe its system in more detail.

Inside the buildings, there will be no noticeable change for passengers. Duty-free, shops and restaurants will remain open. “A traveler who will go to the airport at the beginning of next week will see a little more police officers, summarizes Ignace Jeannerat. But otherwise, he won’t see the difference with the other days. ”

A cell on the cleat

For two weeks, a special cell that brings together various airport services and the international police have been working on the reception arrangements for delegations. A dozen people meet in this way every day “to continuously adapt to American and Russian demands, but also to those of the Confederation or the Swiss army,” explains Ignace Jeannerat. Genève Aéroport has experience in this type of situation. ”

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