Switzerland is well established as a veritable hive of business aviation activity and now a quiet corner in the west of the country wants a piece of this action.COREB is the acronym for Communauté régionale de la Broye and representatives of the La Broye district of this French-speaking Swiss region are here at the EBACE show (Stand 1254) to promote its plans to develop the airfield at Payerne as Aéropole, a business park specializing in aeronautics and aviation.
Payerne Airport made international headlines last year when the Solar Impulse, the world’s first solar-powered aircraft, took off from there and completed a 26-hour flight. Payerne is also home to Switzerland’s largest air force base, which officially opened its runway to civilian flights in 2007. Since then COREB has acted as the link between the military authorities and the developing aviation park.
“Our relationship with the military is excellent,” COREB director Pierre-André Arm told AIN. “We collaborate in a way that is very harmonious in regards to civil flights currently in operation and especially our plans for the future. The military base is an integral part of the project's expansion.”
In 2008, Swiss private jet company Speedwings joined the ranks of the Solar Impulse project and the Swiss aviation investigation bureau (BEAA–Bureau fédéral d’enquêtes sur les accidents d’aviation) and opened offices there. The business park plans to extend the current, mostly-military, airfield to cover almost 100 acres. According to Arm, “discussions are ongoing with numerous organizations and companies who wish to collaborate.”
COREB is offering interested partners two plots on which to settle and develop their businesses. The first area, known as Aéropole I, covers 37 acres and benefits from direct access to the runway, and is intended for aviation and aeronautical companies. The runway, which is 9,500 feet long, can accommodate most types of business aircraft. It also has the potential to serve up to 10,000 passengers a year.
“We are finalizing the regulation of civil operations, in collaboration with the Federal Office of Civil Aviation,” said Arm. “A few issues still need to be decided upon, and we hope to hand in our final plans for approval at the beginning of the summer.”
The second business park covers 62 acres and is intended for companies working in other industries and services that don’t necessarily require direct access to the runway, such as construction, maintenance, research and development and catering, as well as general business centers.
According to Arm, the Aéropole project’s strengths also lie in its ties to leading academic institutions. COREB is developing partnerships with the prestigious Lausanne Polytechnic School, as well as some of the region’s engineering schools (located in the towns of Neuchâtel, Yverdon, Fribourg, Berne and Lausanne).