‘Great victory for environmentalists’: France to scrap ‘obsolete’ Paris Charles de Gaulle airport expansion

Project is no longer in line with government’s environmental policy, minister says

Emily Goddard
Friday 12 February 2021 09:34 GMT
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<p>A man walks inside a terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport</p>

A man walks inside a terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

The French government has abandoned plans to build a fourth terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that would have allowed 40 million additional passengers a year, according to reports.

Barbara Pompili, France’s minister for ecological transition, said the “obsolete” project is no longer in line with the government’s environmental policy or the aviation sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has asked airport developer Groupe ADP to present a new proposal for France’s biggest airport that is “more consistent with its objectives of combating climate change and protecting the environment”.

“We will always need planes, but it is a question of being in a more reasoned use of the air, and to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of the sector,” Ms Pompili told Le Monde newspaper.

Groupe ADP said it is “engaging in a period of reflection on the airport’s future concerns”.

Augustin de Romanet, the chair and chief executive of Groupe ADP, said: “Air travel must accelerate its energy transition. We must draw the proper conclusions from this in our future projects.”

Julien Bayou, the head of France’s Green Party, welcomed the move to scrap what he described as “an idiotic project”, saying it was “a great victory for environmentalists”.

A group of NGOs, including Climate Action Network, Greenpeace France and Friends of the Earth Paris, demanded more details on the new project and “legal guarantees” that any new plan would not include an expansion.

But Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, the president of the employer federation Medef, said the complete cancellation of the airport extension plans was “premature”.

The expansion was estimated to have cost up to €9bn (£7.9bn), and would have allowed up to 40 million additional passengers a year by 2037 and 450 extra flights a day. Charles de Gaulle Airport welcomed more than 76 million passengers in 2019.

The new terminal was described as an airport within an airport, considering Orly welcomes 30 million passengers annually.

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