The airport at Geneva is in the process of being enlarged and the renovations that have already been carried out consist of substantial improvements to passenger services as more flights are anticipated to operate from the airport. There is just one terminal which already has a comprehensive number of facilities for travellers but extensions are being carried out as passenger numbers are likely to increase by another 3 million, rising from 12 to 15 million people each year. The next stage of development is for the East Wing where jumbo aircraft will be able to be accommodated. This is set for completion some time in 2015 and will cost around CHF 300 million.
The recent extensions were completed in 2010 and featured changes to all three levels of the terminal which are made up of arrivals, check-in and departures. There is now a dedicated section for car hire companies in arrivals and the food and beverage outlets have been expanded. All the major car hire companies offer services which include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt. If hiring a car from the Swiss or France sector, the car should be returned to the sector it was hired from as the rental company may charge for returns in a different sector. A Duty Free shop has also just been created in arrivals, to add to the one in departures, as new legislation allows for purchases to be made by international passengers. The benefits mean that people can avoid any breakages or unnecessary weight being carried onto the planes and in the case of transit flights avoid liquids being removed by security.
At the check-in level, an additional 13 desks have been created and significant changes have been made to how luggage is sorted to reduce waiting times and enable passengers to exit more quickly. To the departure level security checks now occur in one centralised area, a modern restaurant has also been built and the shopping zone has been completely updated. In departures and transit items can be bought from shops such as Tie Rack, Cartier, Omega, Ralph Lauren and there are many specialist shops selling jewellery, chocolate and souvenirs.
For accommodation there is an assortment of Geneva Airport hotels such as the Starling Geneva Hotel & Conference Center, Crowne Plaza Geneva, Express by Holiday Inn and Hotel 33. These are all within 1 km of the airport in Switzerland and on the French side there are a number of other options. Some of the hotels run a free shuttle bus which is usually every 20 minutes outside arrivals and these start from 06:00. Free shuttle services can also be booked if staying at certain locations but these are available slightly later starting at 07:00.
Alternatively there is a taxi rank by the airport and journeys to the city cost around CHF 30 to 35 as the city is roughly 4 km away. Luggage does usually involve an extra charge of about CHF 1.50 and groups of four or more also incur another fee. Travelling by public transport, the train takes six minutes to get to the city centre arriving at Geneva-Cornavin station and during peak times the trains run regularly about five times an hour. The buses are even more frequent, every 8 to 15 minutes but may take longer depending on traffic. Tickets for free travel on public transport can be picked up by the baggage claim area and these are valid for up to 80 minutes after being collected. Cycling is also possible as the city is so close by and there are maps which can be picked up which show routes on quieter roads so traffic can be avoided.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Geneva Airport Hotels content.