Aiming to tighten security and offer more comfort to travellers, the building work will allow passengers to access planes on six stands directly from the terminal without having to descend to the tarmac.
At the moment passengers flying from the east wing must be transported by bus from the terminal to their plane.
In theory the six stands in the redeveloped east wing could accommodate up to nine planes at the same time, but in June 2013 environmental groups including WWF and various local resident associations called for a limit on the number of planes that may use the stands.
After long negotiations the airport has agreed to a limit of six planes, Renaud Dupuis of Geneva’s Green party told local media on Thursday.
The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) confirmed that such a limit will be a condition of its authorization of the building work, reported news agency ATS.
Opposition groups hailed the new agreement as a positive for both themselves and the airport, which can now avoid the long-term tensions that have dogged Zurich airport.
“Our opposition allowed a dialogue to develop between the airport and FOCA,” said Denis Chiaradonna of the Association for Transport and the Environment (ATE).
But they will continue to petition the airport in other areas.
Future expansion of the airport could impact upon CO2 emissions and noise levels, they say.
Last year Geneva set a new passenger record, with 14.4million passing through the airport in 2013, a 3.9 percent rise from the previous year.