Basel-Mulhouse Airport

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Airport / EuroAirport
Basel Mulhouse Freiburg
EuroAirport logo.svg
Aéroport Bâle-Mulhouse 2.jpg
ICAO code LFSB for Mulhouse
LSZM for Basel
IATA code BSL for Basel
MLH for Mulhouse,
EAP for EuroAirport

47 ° 35 '22 "  N , 7 ° 31' 48"  E Coordinates: 47 ° 35 '22 "  N , 7 ° 31' 48"  E

Height above MSL 270 m (886  ft )
Transport links
Distance from the city center 3.5 km north-west of Basel,
20 km south-east of Mulhouse,
46 km south-south-west of Freiburg im Breisgau
Street Flughafenstrasse / Route douanière
motorwayA35 A3
Local transport Bus route 50 BVB
bus route 11 Distribus
Basic data
opening May 8, 1946
Terminals 2 in 4 halls
Passengers 9,074,922 (2019)
Air freight 61,495 t (2019)
80,173 (2019)
( PAX per year)
10 million
Employees 6200
08/26 1819 m × 60 m concrete
15/33 3900 m × 60 m concrete

i1 i3

i7 i10 i12 i14

Locations of the three Swiss national airports

The international airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (brand name since 1987 EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg ) is located 6 km northwest of Basel ( Switzerland ) and 20 km southeast of Mulhouse ( France ) in the districts of the French communities Hésingue and Saint-Louis in the department of Haut- Rhin , however , is directly connected to Swiss territory by Basel Flughafenstrasse, which is a duty-free route. The airport is unique in the world and is operated jointly by two countries. Since it is also of great importance for the south-west of Germany, it was given the addition Freiburg ; South Baden representatives are on the board of directors and the trinational advisory board, but without voting rights. Before the opening of EuroAirport, the Swiss flights were handled by the Basel-Sternenfeld airfield in Birsfelden , while Mulhouse was served by the Mulhouse-Habsheim airfield .

Together with Zurich and Geneva airports , the airport is one of the three so-called national airports in Switzerland.

Location and transport links

Location of the airport in the border triangle

EuroAirport is located on French territory and is a public company under international law with its headquarters in France, but enjoys binational status through a Franco-Swiss treaty from 1949. In this context, EuroAirport comprises a Swiss customs sector on French territory. Switzerland has been part of the Schengen area since December 12, 2008, and on March 29, 2009, identity checks in air traffic for flights within the Schengen area were completely eliminated. As a result, the - somewhat complicated - procedure for departing and arriving passengers has also changed and has been roughly adapted to the usual procedure at most other airports in Europe.


The connection to international and national rail traffic from the Swiss Basel SBB train station is ensured by bus line 50 from Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB). The journey time between the train station and the airport is 15 minutes.

A rail connection to EuroAirport from Mulhouse and Basel has been examined and planned since 2001. So far you are only in the participation documentation. In 2019, a planned time horizon for the construction work is assumed from 2020–2028. A new airport station, EuroAirport , is planned , which is to be connected to the Strasbourg – Basel railway line on both sides by a six-kilometer new line . The nearest train station at the moment is the Saint-Louis-la-Chaussée train station to the north, about 900 m as the crow flies . This can be reached on foot via a footpath along the F10 and F5 car parks and Rue de l'Aéroport .


Local transport

From Basel SBB train station , bus line 50 operated by Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe runs up to ten times an hour to EuroAirport, which can be reached in 15 minutes. A number 11 bus operated by the local public transport company Distribus also commutes several times an hour to the Saint-Louis train station, connecting the airport with Mulhouse via the Strasbourg – Basel railway line .

Long-distance transport

The private Flixbus offers up to fourteen times a day as route 208 connections to Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, with a stop in Neuenburg am Rhein .

The same company has been traveling to Zurich up to five times a day since April 2016. As the buses head for the French airport entrance, the connection is considered international and does not fall under the Swiss ban on cabotage . This fact is controversial, however, as the stop at the airport can be reached very easily from the Swiss (customs) area; and it has also happened several times that passengers book a ticket from Zurich to Basel-EuroAirport, but get off at Basel SBB.

This line 108 from Zurich runs from the EuroAirport in a northerly direction via Colmar and Strasbourg as well as other intermediate stops to Frankfurt am Main .


The French side of the airport can be reached via a separate exit from the French A35 motorway , or via Neuweg (La Chaussée). The Swiss side of the airport can be reached from Basel via a duty-free road . A combined foot and cycle path runs along this road; the Swiss border is 3.7 km away; the Basel SBB train station 7.7 km. There is no connection between the two road networks.


Location search

The forerunner of today's international airport was the Basel-Sternenfeld airfield in Birsfelden , which opened in 1920 . From the beginning, the Sternenfeld was a temporary airfield: The site owned by the Canton of Basel-Landschaft was only available on a lease basis, as a Rhine port and the Birsfelden power plant were planned there. For this reason, the search for a suitable new location began as early as 1929. Airfield director Charles Koepke suggested three possible variants in 1930: in the Hard near Muttenz (with a runway parallel to the banks of the Rhine ), between Allschwil and Bourgfelden (partly on French territory) and Leopoldshöhe near Weil am Rhein (entirely on German territory).

When Elektra Birseck indicated in 1934 that the construction of the power plant could possibly begin earlier than planned, time seemed to be pressing. The Federal Council spoke out against negotiations with France , which meant that the Allschwil-Bourgfelden project, initially favored by the canton of Basel-Stadt , fell behind and the Hard project was preferred. However, this offered limited development opportunities and met with strong resistance from the population because of the necessary large-scale deforestation. After a protest rally, the Muttenz community assembly rejected the project in 1936. Two petitions by the Basel cantons and the airfield cooperative to the Federal Council to reconsider the Allschwil-Bourgfelden project were unsuccessful in 1936 and 1937. At the end of 1937, the Federal Council finally gave in to political pressure from Basel and gave the Allschwil-Bourgfelden site its general approval. In July 1939 negotiations began with the French authorities on implementation, but these had to be broken off when the Second World War broke out.

While other Swiss cities continued to press ahead with their airport projects, Basel feared that it would lose its connection to international air traffic after the end of the war. In 1942, the canton of Basel-Stadt and the Aviation Airfield Cooperative of both Basels sought a provisional solution. The government and the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt approved a resized project in the Hard near Muttenz, but it failed on March 20, 1943 in a cantonal referendum with a 65% no. A private person then suggested the Paradieshof location between Oberwil and Binningen , which the affected communities categorically rejected. The Federal Aviation Office judged another project at Allschwil to be unsatisfactory.

Construction and commissioning

The runway system of the newly built Basel / Mulhouse airport in May 1956. Most of the buildings are still missing. Runway 15/33 is a lot shorter than it is today.
Location of the airport in Saint-Louis
Basel-Mulhouse Airport from the air

On March 24, 1945, before the end of the war, negotiations with France were resumed. A little later, a new location between Saint-Louis and Blotzheim came into play, which compared to the original project was far more cost-effective and more suitable in terms of flight technology. On August 9, the French officials spoke out in favor of the Blotzheim variant. The Basel government officially submitted a detailed project to the Federal Council on October 12, which became known to the public a few days later.

The official intergovernmental negotiations began on February 5, 1946. Already on March 8, actuated the Basel government Gustav Wenk and the prefect of the department of Haut-Rhin the groundbreaking ceremony . 350 civilian workers and at times up to 100 German prisoners of war were involved in the construction of the facility. After three trial landings in the previous days, the official inauguration of the temporary Basel-Mulhouse airport took place on May 8, 1946. In just two months, a 1270 m long and 40 m wide runway and several simple service buildings were built. Most of the costs were borne by the French state. Due to the record-fast construction time, there has been several talk of the “Blotzheim miracle”.

Although KLM flew to Basel from June 1 and Swissair from July 7, passenger numbers stagnated for the next five years. The reasons for this were the very rudimentary facilities and the fact that access to the airport from Switzerland was not possible without crossing the border. At the request of Air France , the runway was extended to 1,500 m in 1948, with the canton of Basel-Stadt assuming the costs. The French state, at that time the sole operator, was no longer willing at the end of 1947 to bear the high deficits caused by the low utilization. In order to prevent the airport from being closed, the canton of Basel-Stadt contributed to the operating costs from May 1948. The State Treaty was signed on July 4, 1949 and ratified by the Swiss Federal Assembly and the French National Assembly in December . It came into force on November 25, 1950, almost five years after negotiations began. The contract stipulated that France would provide the necessary land while Switzerland financed the further expansion of the airport. France should be responsible for controlling flight operations under French law.

View of the terminal from the parking lot

The construction program for the definitive airport comprised the north-south main runway (2000 × 60 m), the east-west side runway (1600 × 60 m), a duty -free lane , air traffic control systems and a terminal building with various ancillary buildings. The Grand Council of Basel-Stadt approved a loan of 29.7 million francs on September 1, 1949, of which the federal government took over 30%. The Zollfreistrasse was opened on October 2, 1952, the secondary runway in March 1953 and the main runway in December 1953. The latter had been extended to 2,370 m, for which the canton of Basel-Stadt approved 3.9 million francs after a successful referendum. In 1956, for the first time, there were more than 100,000 passengers a year. Since the civil engineering alone had used up almost the entire building loan and the planned terminal building was already technically outdated, temporary work had to be sufficient for the structural engineering. In 1956, the district Neuweg (La Chaussée) agreed to the separation of Blotzheim and the connection to the city of Saint-Louis; the change was made on March 7, 1958. Since then, the airport is no longer in the municipality of Blotzheim, but in the districts of Saint-Louis and Hésingue .


In order not to lose touch with Geneva-Cointrin and Zurich-Kloten , the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt gave a loan of 75.055 million francs. However, this proposal was rejected in a referendum in June 1960, whereupon a reduced project had to be worked out. This comprised investments of 54.48 million francs and was clearly accepted by the people in October 1962. In October 1963, the Federal Assembly approved a cost sharing of 25.051 million. The terminal building went into operation on June 27, 1970. Due to the short main runway, Basel-Mulhouse was only competitive to a limited extent, as larger jet aircraft could only take off with a significantly reduced take-off weight. The plan was to extend the main runway to 4000 m and, in parallel, another runway for general aviation . France was very interested in this expansion and increased the airport area by an additional 131 hectares to 536 hectares. But the project failed in Basel-Stadt in the referendum on September 21, 1971 with 25,547 to 21,329 votes. Three factors were decisive for this: the lack of a night flight ban , exaggerated growth forecasts and the fact that the cantonal government had withheld a noise study with negative findings for seven months.

View of the legal headquarters of Swiss at Basel-Mulhouse airport

Five years later, the Basel city government presented a modified expansion plan. Apart from the extension of the main runway to 3900 m, no further construction projects worth mentioning were planned. The canton of Basel-Stadt was to assume 23 million francs of the construction costs, the economy and Swissair together 5 million, and the federal government the remaining 12 million. After the approval of the Grand Council, the “Working Group for the Protection of Nature and the Environment” and the Labor Party held the referendum. In contrast to 1971, the proponents made a considerable effort and also addressed the problem of aircraft noise. The referendum of November 7, 1976 was positive with 27,704 votes in favor against 16,481 against. In June 1977 the Federal Assembly approved the 35 percent share of the subsidy and at the same time elevated Basel-Mulhouse to an intercontinental airport. The construction work, which began a month later, also included a tunnel for the Blotzheim – Neuweg road and the Waldighoffen – Saint-Louis-la-Chaussée railway (in operation for goods traffic until 1992). The official opening of the extended main runway took place on April 28, 1979.

In the following years there were several smaller extensions. From 1979 to 1981 the freight hall was enlarged, in 1988 a temporary hall for express and courier freight was built (replaced in 1996 by the "West End"). In 1987 the airport was given the brand name EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg . The redesign of the departure halls in 1990 was connected with the addition of a finger dock , with which additional aircraft stands could be created (expanded to today's Y-Dock in 2000/01). The east-west cross runway was extended by 220 meters in 2001. The French part of the terminal was enlarged in 2002, the Swiss part in 2005. Finally, the old central part of the terminal was rebuilt by 2013 and its appearance adapted to the modern new buildings. In 2014 the airport counted more than 6 million passengers for the first time. The latest expansion step is the new cargo terminal opened in January 2015.

Binational specialties

The airport originally had two separate publicly accessible sectors (for both departing and arriving passengers), a French sector (IATA code MLH for Mulhouse) and a Swiss sector (IATA code BSL for Basel). The airport thus had two departure and two arrival halls (one each in the French and one in the Swiss part) with the appropriate infrastructure (check-in counters, catering, etc.). The parts reserved only for flying guests (terminals, security check, baggage return, etc.) were not separated. A change between the French and Swiss sectors in the airport was possible for pedestrians by passing through an airport-internal border and customs control. After Switzerland joined the Schengen area in 2009, the division was no longer necessary, which is why the airport was rebuilt. It now has a large departure hall with combined check-in counters, catering facilities and other facilities. The arrival areas are still separate, but connected on foot without customs control.

In line with this original division into two parts, the airport still has two different, separate access routes, one from Basel and one from France. Outside the airport building, the access routes are still separate: anyone driving to the airport from Basel cannot leave the airport in the direction of France. There are also two different and separate parking areas with different currencies ( francs in the Swiss part, euros in the French part) and different pricing.

German , French and English are spoken at the airport .

After months of negotiations, the Swiss telecommunications providers - Swisscom and Sunrise Communications - had to switch off their radio systems on the airport site, which is located on French territory, on May 24, 2016, as only French coverage is allowed. When installing the systems in 2004, Swisscom had assumed that the 1949 treaty would legitimize mobile phone coverage by Swiss companies.


The airport is located on French soil in the border triangle , has a binational status and belongs to France and Switzerland. For Switzerland it is the third largest airport (after Zurich and Geneva ), in France it is one of the ten most important airports and is the fifth largest regional airport there .

Development of traffic figures

EasyJet machine at EuroAirport

In 2001 the airport had a good result with around 3.5 million passengers. In 2002, due to the bankruptcy of Swissair, there was a significant decline in the number of passengers and freight volume. The decline continued in 2003: only around 2.5 million passengers used the airport. In 2004, the turnaround began with a slight increase of 2%. The airport has been booming since 2005 thanks to the low-cost airline EasyJet , which opened a base at the airport in June of that year. On May 31, 2015, the Swiss airline gave up the airport as a flight destination. This was justified with the massive price pressure from cheap lines. In 2014, Easyjet already had a market share of 55%, while Swiss still had 5%. In 2015 7.1 million passengers used the airport. In 2018, the airport recorded 8,578,064 passengers, an increase of 8.7 percent compared to the previous year. On the other hand, the freight volume has decreased somewhat over the same period. Flight movements also fell slightly due to larger aircraft, better capacity utilization and the sharp decline in private aviation. Meanwhile, flight movements in the commercial sector increased by around 4.3 percent. Easyjet had to accept a slight decline in 2018 with a good 5 million passengers and a market share of 58.5 percent, in favor of other airlines such as Wizz Air .


In 2012 and 2015, the lounge at EuroAirport received the title “Best Airport Lounge in the World”, which is chosen annually by the Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards , and in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2014 the title “Best Airport Lounge in Europe ». Since October 1, 2012, the Swiss Lounge has not been known as the Swiss Lounge, but as a so-called “Contract Lounge”, which means that access for Swiss Frequent Travelers was no longer free. Access to the lounge , which is now marketed as the EuroAirport Skyview Lounge , can be purchased by all passengers, although passengers in certain transport classes or status customers of some airlines still have free entry.


The following table shows the development of the number of passengers (from 2000 also freight volume and flight movements).

year Passengers Freight in t Flight movements
1946 12,865
1950 17,932
1955 85,600
1960 248,339
1965 389,646
1970 696,230
1975 753,756
1980 909,754
1985 1,048,748
1990 1,845,202
2000 3,783,527 124,427 126,892
2005 3,315,696 83,580 82,142
2010 4,129,186 107,488 77'152
2014 6,523,874 98,175 89'474
2015 7,061,059 101,050 94,359
2016 7,314,269 101,300 95,542
2017 7,888,725 112,283 95,610
2018 8,578,064 110,129 97'271
2019 9,090,312 106,079 99,313

Flight booking

EuroAirport has three IATA codes - BSL, MLH and EAP, the last of which is the “Area Code” which includes “both airports”. Air France flights to Paris-Orly are only sold by MLH, to Roissy by BSL and MLH. In terms of booking, this service is managed as a flight from BSL to CDG with a stopover in MLH (For example BSL-MLH 0700-0701, “stopover” 0701-0702, “onward flight” MLH-CDG 0702-0810; the “flight” from BSL to MLH on foot). As a result, MLH-CDG is considerably cheaper as a domestic flight than BSL- (MLH-) CDG, which is sold according to the international price system. The BSL destination and MLH destination tariffs can also differ considerably for international flights.

Swiss International Air Lines only sold flights to and from BSL. Before the liberalization of traffic rights between Switzerland and the EU, Crossair (and later Swiss) operated the French subsidiary Europe Continental Airways, which offered flights under the brand name Crossair Europe with French-registered aircraft and French operating licenses from MLH, but Swiss companies did not operate them would have been justified. Regardless of the destination on the ticket, passengers can choose between exits to France or Switzerland upon arrival.


  • On April 10, 1973, the Vickers Vanguard 952 with the aircraft registration number G-AXOP crashed on Invicta International Airways Flight 435 in snowfall and fog during the approach to a mountain. The cause of the accident was the pilots' loss of orientation, caused, among other things, by insufficient training in instrument flight. 108 people were killed; 37 survived, of which 36 were injured.
  • On July 23, 2007, Hans Georg Schmid wanted to fly non-stop over the Atlantic from Basel in his self-built aircraft in honor of Charles Lindbergh . Since the aircraft was too heavily loaded and had taken off at too slow a speed, it could not climb and after a 3.8 km flight it collided with an apartment building. The pilot was killed and the house was badly damaged by the fire.
  • On December 7, 2016, a Piper PA-34 ( registration number HB-LSD ) had an accident with two people on board. The aircraft had an accident while landing on runway 15/33 and caught fire. One of the two people on board was killed.

The accident in which an Air France Airbus A320 ( Air France flight 296 ) flew into a forest on June 26, 1988 on the occasion of an air show , did not occur at Basel-Mulhouse airport, but at the nearby Mulhouse-Habsheim airport . The plane took off from Basel-Mulhouse and should have returned there after the demonstration.


The «Belvédère» in Blotzheim

The EuroAirport is a suitable airport to operate planespotting . On the road that crosses under runway 15 and connects the airport with Blotzheim, there is a viewing platform called "Belvédère". From there there is a continuous view of runway 15 and the aircraft landing there. When lift 33 is in operation, you can also stand by the fence on the slope axis.


The Super Constellation at EuroAirport (2006)

The only Super Constellation still active in Europe has its home base at the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg during the flying season and organizes sightseeing flights across almost all of Europe between April and September. The winter quarters of the aircraft operated by the Super Constellation Flyers Association are at Lahr Airport near Lahr .

See also


  • Peter F. Peyer (Ed.): From Sternenfeld to the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg . Christoph Merian, Basel 1996, ISBN 3-85616-074-4 (anthology on the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary).
  • Sandro Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Origin and development of the civil aviation infrastructure in Switzerland, 1919–1990 . Chronos Verlag, Zurich 2014, ISBN 978-3-0340-1228-7 .

Web links

Commons : Euroairport  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Bulletin statistiquetrafic aérien commercial - Année 2019. In: Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire, accessed on May 24, 2020 (French).
  2. ↑ The change of strategy at EurAirport brings the turning point. July 20, 2015. Verlagshaus Jaumann, accessed on May 3, 2018 .
  3. press release. (PDF, 26 kB) Regional Transport Association Freiburg, January 13, 2001, accessed on February 4, 2011 .
  4. ↑ Rail connection of the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse - preliminary studies. (PDF, 141 kB) Interreg IV Rhin Supérieur, December 13, 2010, accessed on February 4, 2011 .
  5. The current status. Nouvelle liaison ferroviaire EuroAirport, archived from the original on June 3, 2016 ; accessed on October 6, 2019 .
  6. Stop timetable 15/16: Annual timetable for line 50. (No longer available online.) BVB Basel, 2016, archived from the original on May 26, 2016 ; accessed on May 10, 2019 .
  7. ^ Distribus 11. (PDF) distribus, St. Louis, France, 2016, accessed on June 3, 2016 (French).
  8. Flixbus reduces journeys from Zurich to Basel , accessed on March 12, 2017
  9. Controversial SBB competition: the federal government wants long-distance bus tricks to the collar , accessed on July 2, 2016
  10. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 59-61.
  11. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 61-62.
  12. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 132-133.
  13. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 159-160.
  14. The EuroAirport - in the service of the RegioTriRhena. Accessed January 5, 2017.
  15. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 160-161.
  16. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 162-164.
  17. Swiss-French State Treaty of July 4, 1949. EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, 2015, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  18. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. P. 165.
  19. Le rattachement de Neuweg à Saint-Louis. (PDF) City of Saint-Louis, accessed on October 10, 2015 (French).
  20. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 228-229.
  21. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 246-247.
  22. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. Pp. 255-257.
  23. The EuroAirport - serving the RegioTriRhena. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  24. Commissioning of the new cargo terminal with receipt of the first cargo flight. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, January 27, 2015, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  25. Basel-Mulhouse Airport (ed.): Questions and Answers / FAQ> General questions. In: EuroAirport. Retrieved May 10, 2019 .
  26. Swiss telecommunications provider banned from Basel Airport - Retrieved May 6, 2016 .
  27. Swiss takes off for the last time in Basel. Basler Zeitung , May 31, 2015, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  28. The EuroAirport - in the service of the RegioTriRhena. Accessed January 5, 2017.
  29. a b Soon 9 million passengers at EuroAirport. In: Retrieved January 17, 2019 .
  30. EuroAirport Skyview Lounge - Now open to all passengers , accessed on November 22, 2017.
  31. Fehr: The development of the third dimension. P. 342.
  32. Statistics. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, 2015, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  33. ^ The fatal error of flight IM 435. Basler Zeitung , April 10, 2013, accessed on October 10, 2015 .
  34. ^ Official accident report , accessed December 28, 2017
  35. Record pilot fell in a residential area in Basel. Swissinfo , July 23, 2007, accessed October 10, 2015 .
  36. Basel Airport closed after an accident , accessed on December 8, 2016
  37. Spotter Guide Basel-Mulhouse Airport. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; accessed on May 10, 2019 .
  38. Home. Super Constellation Flyers Association , accessed October 10, 2015 .