Air France plans to abandon Paris Orly Airport amid sharp drop in domestic flights
Air traffic on domestic routes out of Paris-Orly is down by 40% and even by 60% for one-day return trips. More people are also switching to trains
Air France plans to retreat from the Paris Orly airport in coming years from where the carrier connects the capital with the country’s south, responding to a sharp drop in domestic flights as people switch increasingly to videoconferencing and rail travel.
The airline, part of the Air France-KLM group, will complete the move to the bigger Roissy-Charles de Gaulle hub by 2026 and will continue to serve Toulouse, Marseille and Nice, as well as the French Overseas departments from Orly until then, it said in a statement. The group’s low-cost Transavia airline will continue operating from Orly, Air France-KLM said.
Travel behaviour within France has changed fundamentally in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic that crimped corporate trips and gave rise to conference calls that have often replaced personal meetings. Air traffic on domestic routes out of Paris-Orly is down by 40% and even by 60% for one-day return trips, according to the company. More people are also switching to trains, given that France’s high-speed network offers a competitive mode of transport to air travel.
Air France will present the plan to labor unions on Wednesday. A media representative for Aeroports de Paris, which operates both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The airline will continue to serve the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which belongs to France, from Orly to honor public-service commitments, Air France said
Charles de Gaulle airport, which is 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of Paris, welcomed 76.2 million passengers in 2019, according to ADP. Orly, which lies 10 kilometers south of the capital, welcomed 31.9 million passengers that same year.