On 28 July 2015, the British newspaper the Independent, posted a thirteen-line article listing the worst five airports in the world written by senior travel writer Simon Calder. Geneva’s Cointrin was listed number four.
No methodology or data were presented to support the author’s conclusions. For example, it is not clear which airports were included in the analysis, or how those included were compared.
The article said “Forget the stereotype of Swiss efficiency: the rapid growth of passenger numbers at the British traveller’s key Alpine airport has not been matched by much-needed investment.”
Nearly two months later, the Tribune de Genève relayed the Independent article to its readers with a headline proclaiming: “Cointrin is one of the five worst airports in the world”.
Independent readers suggested the author visit Bujumbura, Monrovia, Juba, Kinshasa, Dacca, Cairo, Kabul, Baghdad, Nairobi, Tashkent and Lahore airports and revise his conclusions. Another suggested the writer doesn’t travel much, while one insinuated his research didn’t include entire continents such as Africa, Western Asia and South America.
Defenders of Cointrin said it is quick, even when there’s a queue, offers regular free ten-minute train trips to the city centre, and being tiny you can’t miss a connection, unlike the horrible running distances at mazes like Heathrow.
One Tribune de Genève reader said that as usual Anglo-Saxon airports are deemed better despite the transit hassle at Heathrow. Others complained of Cointrin’s poor car access, crowded check in counters, overflowing security areas, the limitations of one runway and how Bern invested in Zurich’s airport but not in Geneva’s.
The most popular comment on the Tribune de Genève website simply said “Useless article that gives no reasons for Geneva airport’s ranking”
The CIA world fact book put the global number of airports at 41,821 in 2013. Is placing Geneva’s in the bottom five fair? What do you think?