December 18, 2020

Expert interview about the Swiss Rotor Hub

Why the Swiss Rotor Hub is a perfect fit for Grenchen Airport

An interview with Erich Blösch, President of the Grenchen Airport Board of Management.

We are delighted to be opening the Swiss Rotor Hub at Grenchen Airport. It complements the range of services currently available at Grenchen Airport and fits perfectly into our strategy. There are many reasons for this:

first and foremost, Grenchen Airport’s role as a training airport. Grenchen Airport has played this role since its founding in 1931 and, in recent years, an increasing number of providers have concentrated their training activities at the Grenchen site. Some examples include the Lufthansa Group’s European Flight Academy, which trains pilots including those who fly for Swiss; the national air force’s SPHAIR courses; and Rega, which recently opened its first autonomous training base in Grenchen. This development explains why more than 60% of all flight operations are now associated with pilot training. I also see the Swiss Rotor Hub project in this context. The project fits in perfectly because the Swiss Rotor Hub, like us, focuses on training and safety as well as aeronautical and technical expertise.

Then, there are the general conditions we can offer at Grenchen Airport. We must keep reminding ourselves – and I attach great importance to this – it is not for nothing that Grenchen Airport has become the most important Swiss training airport. The airport is naturally ideal for training pilots. The proximity to Jura and the Alps, the resulting topographically challenging area, and the variety of aviation types taking off and landing in Grenchen all contribute to making the airport an excellent site for training. However, Grenchen Airport was only able to become the most important Swiss training airport because of our mindset and the conditions that we offer our partners. This environment is virtually ideal for all branches of aviation and for training. We are a licensed regional airport with customs clearance and a very short check-in process. We offer night flying and all-weather flight operations. In addition, we can offer what is probably the widest variety of aviation types (fixed-wing aircraft, sports aircraft, slow take-off aircraft, fast take-off business jets, gliders, instrument flying, etc.). This mix makes Grenchen Airport highly challenging for training activities, yet also interesting and unique.

Finally, the location of the airport in the middle of Switzerland, in the heart of the high-tech industrial cluster between Biel and Solothurn, is also crucial. The airport has excellent transport links. Motorway access is right around the corner, and the two train stations provide excellent public transport connections to Grenchen.

Despite these many advantages, we must not forget that without the variety of aviation branches and without the general conditions, there could be no training in Grenchen. Likewise, these general conditions would not exist without the training. These aspects are very closely connected and have become our main location advantage. The training activities also provide an important advantage for the location: we are at the forefront of many innovations, such as descents with and without instruments, and we help put new methods into practice. And this is where the Swiss Rotor Hub comes into play again: with technological topics relating to the future of mobility. I am personally delighted that Mr Borer has chosen the location of Grenchen and I believe that Grenchen Airport and the Swiss Rotor Hub will be a great match and work well together.