Location and history
The St. Gallen-Altenrhein airfield was established in 1926, when Professor Claude Dornier decided to build his “flying boat” DO-X in Altenrhein. The company was named Dornier Flugzeugwerke.
The first 600m-long grass runway was built in 1927. From this time until the outbreak of World War II, regular scheduled flights operated to Basel, Dübendorf, Innsbruck and Munich. Amid the euphoria surrounding the rapidly-growing aviation sector, Altenrhein was considered a key European airfield for land- and seaplanes. In connection with the development order issued by the federal government for a fighter plane, the FFA (Flug- und Fahrzeugwerke Altenrhein) built a hard-surface runway measuring 1,200 m by 30 m in 1954. In 1979 this was extended to its current length of 1,500 m. This was necessary as the FFA had received a mandate from the federal government lasting until 1993 to overhaul Hunter fighter planes.
It was becoming apparent that the construction and overhaul of military aircraft in Altenrhein would become less and less important over time. However, the maintenance of civil aircraft was being specifically promoted.
A daily scheduled flight to Vienna
In the late 1980s Rheintalflug Seewald GmbH submitted a proposal to set up a daily scheduled flight from Altenrhein to Vienna. The federal government granted the company an operating licence to run scheduled flights to Vienna in 1988.
Extensive upgrading of infrastructure
The expansion of aircraft maintenance activities as well as the operation of scheduled flights meant an extensive upgrade of the airfield infrastructure was needed. Between 1988 and 1990 new hangars were built, an instrument landing system was installed and an airfield tower was erected. Significant investment was also made in security equipment, such as fire engines, weather stations, skidometers, x-ray equipment for baggage and a magnetic gate for conducting passenger security checks.
The instrument landing system was put into operation in spring 1991 on the day of the first scheduled flight to Vienna operated by Rheintalflug Seewald GmbH.
The lead-in lights, which facilitate landing when visibility is poor, were installed in 2005.
|1926 ||Establishment of the company Dornier Flugzeugwerke |
|1948||Dr Claudio Caroni acquires Dornier Flugzeugwerke and renames it FFA Flug- und Fahrzeugwerke AG|
|1967||A new subsidiary is founded:Repair Ltd.|
|1984||Following the death of Dr Claudio Caroni, his son Luciano takes over management of the company|
|1987||Luciano Caroni sells the entire company to Schindler Ltd. Schindler renames the vehicle factorySchindler Waggon Altenrhein The flight operation division is re-sold to Justus Dornier Holding Ltd in Zurich|
|1994||Justus Dornier sells FFA Flugzeugwerke Altenrhein and Altenrhein Airport to the construction firm, Gautschi AG|
|2000||The Strikwerda family from Lausanne takes a majority stake in Airport Altenrhein AG and sets up FFA Aircraft Maintenance AG and Firma Altenrhein Realco AG for real estate management|
|2003||Strikwerda buys the remaining shares and therefore becomes sole owner of Airport Altenrhein AG FFA Aircraft Maintenance is sold to Pilatuswerke. The subsidiary Altenrhein Aviation Ltd is founded|
|2008||Dieter Bührle acquires St. Gallen – Altenrhein Airport|
|2009 ||Markus Kopf buys 50% of the shares from Dieter Bührle. |
|2010 ||Markus Kopf buys the remaining 50% and is sole owner of the Airport Altenrhein. |
|2010 ||Foundation of the airline People’s Viennaline from Altenrhein to Vienna, 3 times a day. Owner is Markus Kopf. |
Take Off of People’s Viennaline on the 28th of March 2011.
The history of scheduled flights
|1935-1939 ||Scheduled flights run to Innsbruck, Munich, Dübendorf and Basel with AC8|
|1988||Rheintalflug obtains operating licence for scheduled flights to Vienna|
|from 1991||Scheduled flights run to Vienna with Turboprop Dash 8-100 (carrying 37 passengers)|
|1994||New Dash 8-300 (carrying 50 passengers) is deployed for scheduled flights to Vienna|
|1999||Modern Embraer 145 jet (carrying 50 passengers) is deployed for scheduled flights to Vienna|
|2003||Modern Turboprop Dash 8-400 (carrying 72 passengers) is deployed for scheduled flights to Vienna|
|2006||Fokker 70 (carrying 80 passengers) is deployed for morning rotation|
Infrastructure and capacity
St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport has a hard-surface runway (10/28) which is 1,500 metres long and 30 metres wide, an instrument landing system from the west and a sight landing system from the east. Thanks to the ILS10 instrument landing system, flights can operate in all weather conditions. The length and load capacity of the runway allows the operation of regional aircraft up to the size of an Embraer 145 to 190, a Dash 8-400 and all business jets.
Four scheduled flights run from St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport to Vienna every day. Austrian Airlines operates convenient transfer flights via Vienna to over 130 destinations worldwide. Between May and October a weekly charter flight operates to the Mediterranean destination of Sardinia.
The airport has two check-in desks, one travel agency, two valet parking services, four car rental companies (Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt), one restaurant, six taxi ranks and one bus stop.
The Rorschach and Rheineck stations featuring a high-speed train service are only a few minutes away from the airport and offer good connections to other towns and cities in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. The bus stop for the RTB Rheintal public bus service is located in the immediate vicinity of the airportand offers regular connections to Rorschach and Rheineck.
The bus service operated by Austrian Airlines (AUA) also offers convenient connections to and from Vorarlberg – Lustenau, Dornbirn and Bregenz. The bus timetable is coordinated with the arrival and departure times of AUA scheduled flights. The bus journey is free in conjunction with a valid flight ticket.
Our strategy is based on 4 pillars:
We aim to be the gateway of choice for companies located in eastern Switzerland, Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein.
Our aim is to be market leader in terms of customer satisfaction.
Projects / outlook
We are developing the airfield infrastructure based on customer needs. We aim to offer airlines, pilots and passengers a secure, efficient and customer friendly service. A further upgrade to the airfield infrastructure (new terminal) is in the pipeline, as are additional hangars.
Between 2001 and 2009, investments were made in the following areas:
Customer-friendly arrivals hall
New fire brigade building
Modern baggage handling system
Convenient car park credit card system
Widening of taxiway
Expansion of the business lounge
X-ray equipment for passenger/staff security checks
X-ray equipment for baggage checks
Renovation of the Cockpit Restaurant
Construction of a tower
(not for operational & aeronautical use / no official publication)