Air Transport World

A bi ... uh, trinational operation. (EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse Freiburg)

BASEL--Four cities, three countries, a single flourishing economic region--and one airport: Aeroport de Bale-Mulhouse (MLH). In German, it comes out as Flughafen Basel-Mulhouse (BSL). And yes, the situation is unique: Two separate 3-letter identifiers for the same airport, depending on which section of the binationally operated terminal at which you arrive or from which you depart.

It's a surprisingly successful binational airport with distinctly trinational overtones. Nevertheless, political uncertainty clouds its future development as the single European market nears reality despite current stumbling blocks.

"We've been a little ahead of our time," says Airport Director Paul A. Rhinow, the Swiss citizen presiding over a firmly established, amicable int'l operation in the heart of Europe. "In a real sense, we've been practicing European integration ever since the airport took off." Of the 3,378 people who work there today, 2,434 (72%) are employed under Swiss law and 944 (28%) under French law. Altogether, 47 different nationalities are represented, Riffnow pointed out. …

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