Black smoke could initially be seen spewing from a construction site intended to be a future centre for asylum seekers.
“Due to a fire at the edge of the runway, landings and take-offs have been suspended since 5:35pm (1535 GMT),” the airport said on Twitter.
“A reopening of the runway, for take-offs initially, is envisaged around 7:00pm (1700 GMT).”
Airport spokesman Ignace Jeannerat in the evening told AFP that the fire was “under control”, but staff needed to “secure the area and remove the debris”.
Highlight this week at Geneva Airport; a Gulfstream IV of the Botswana Government. It was also one of the last aircraft landing before the airport was temporary closed due to a big fire next to the airport with lots of smoke over the runway and large explosions starting to occur pic.twitter.com/ojJqVKNuCc
— EHGG-LOWW-LSGG (@EhggLoww) May 20, 2022
The fire was “outside the airport perimeter” and “creating a lot of smoke”, he said.
At around 1630 GMT, an AFP journalist noted that there were no visible flames or smoke. Firefighters continued to hose down the building, which is surrounded by scaffolding and tarpaulins.
Some inbound flights were diverted to Lyon and Basel.
— Alexandra La Guardia (@alexlaguardia1) May 20, 2022
Geneva is Switzerland’s second-busiest airport after Zurich. Wedged in on the edge of Swiss territory, the runway is next to the border with France.
In 2021, the airport welcomed more than 5.9 million passengers, down from the pre-pandemic level of nearly 18 million in 2019.