Before I tell you our story, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Reto Seipel and I’m an airline pilot. After 15 years with Swissair/SWISS and two years with Emirates Airlines in Dubai I’m back in Switzerland again, living and flying as a freelance pilot for Edelweiss Air. Before I started my airline career I graduated with a degree and attended art school for two years. In between, I had the privilege of completing Air Force training and then flying the reconnaissance Mirage III fighter jet until 2003 as a militia pilot.
The idea for a themed restaurant and the concept which blended the glamour of flying and traveling into practice was born in the mid-nineties. After the Swissair grounding, it became more than just an idea. Through a colleague, I met Stefan Hunziker, a restaurant business professional. Together, we developed the project further. At the same time, I started the search for a suitable airplane. We originally wanted either a DC-3 or a Convair 440 Metropolitan. It didn’t take long to find out that both options would be rather prohibitively expensive. A flying colleague, who owned a Russian aerobatic plane, recommended that we extend our search to Russia. With his excellent contacts, we found a suitable airplane in no time at all, enter our Il-14.
Our next step was to develop a suitable building to house the concept. The choice of the architect was really quiet simple, my brother, Andri Seipel, a partner with Otto+Partner architects in Liestal. His initial design fulfilled all the aesthetic and technical demands that we needed for the restaurant and in the following months we only had to optimize his initial plans.
We broke into new territory with every aspect of our project. On the one hand because of the layout and on the other because of the location. In order to get the permission to build our restaurant that close to the airport, we had to apply for a re-designation of building land next to the perimeter fence. With the active support of the city of Opfikon and Unique (Zürich Airport) this task was achieved in the very short period of time of one year. Sound proofing was another major issue that kept us and the authorities very busy. Again and again we were confronted with minor and more relevant obstacles which drained our energy. With the help and the enormous goodwill of all concerned, especially from our landlord Avireal, we were finally able to conquer and overcome all of our problems. One of the biggest headaches which we encountered was getting hold of the necessary papers to get our airplane out of Russia.
Aviation and travel. Two terms which create immediate interest to most of us. That’s why so many others have tried to convert these topics into a themed restaurant. As a long-haul pilot for Swissair, I visited a lot of wannabe «aviation restaurants» and had the opportunity to see the various concepts the world over. But I never found the ultimate aviation restaurant. And because I wanted to offer more than just an «onboard-service» on the ground, I didn’t want to interpret the aviation factor in any old abstract way. No; flying and traveling should be experienced in an «immersed fashion» like nowhere that I had been to before. Of course it had to be a real aircraft, a genuine propliner, a classic piston engined airliner from the fifties in a hangar, with real flight attendants, with cuisine to parallel a culinary journey around the world. And there just had to be a busy airport very close to it. Based on these cornerstones, Stefan Hunziker and I built up our themed restaurant concept and refined it over the next three years. With countless new ideas from many of the dedicated people that also went into this development, we created a perfect project. You’re just about to experience the result…
Runway 34 is a unique restaurant concept, which cannot be compared to another gastronomic concept. In many aspects, we follow new and distinct paths that differ considerably from traditional gastronomy and from latest trends. We place ourselves outside the mainstream by living the “feu sacré” of a host and the aviation enthusiasm of a pilot or flight attendant and by combining both with sound business thinking.
We offer our guests an incomprable aviation atmosphere and take them on a culinary journey around the world, whether in a group of two or in a group of 300 passengers on board. It is important to us to live the aviation myth constantly and from A to Z. When entering our door, our passengers can remove their everyday stress and plunge into another world. Our main concern is to care for our guests by giving them our full attention, a warm and natural service as well as an impeccable onboard catering. Our staff is trained continuously and ready to handle every desire. Giving a “little extra” shapes our daily professional life. We are restaurateurs with all our heart and live the aviation myth with a fondness for extravagance. Our high capacity makes us very flexible and we are able to adapt from a reservation for 50 guests to an event for two or three times as many guests. Reservation requests received at noon for a group of 20 people for the same evening are as frequent as special events for 320 people that turn out to host 40 people more than booked. This flexibility asks all of us to put in 100 percent effort every day and is only possible as the whole crew does its best and works hand in hand. Our team spirit is extremely important to guide Runway 34 safely and comfortably through every weather condition. Our aim is to progress continually as a team.
We are happy to refer you to our competent and long-term partners with whom we work very closely. Take a look around their businesses and get more information about our company & network.