French airports prepare to reopen
Following a speech from the French Prime Minister last night (May 28) confirming the second stage of deconfinement in France, airports around the country are preparing to reopen in June.
A speech given by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has confirmed that France will begin its second stage of deconfinement with increased travel freedoms from June 2.
Airports across France are now planning to reopen to commercial travellers flying to destinations within France and in Europe this June.
Currently the 100km travel imposed in the first stage of French lockdown has been lifted, meaning travel throughout France will be possible from June 2. However, restrictions on travel outside France will remain in place until at least June 15, when it is expected travel to European countries will be possible.
In a Tweet, the Prime Minister wrote: “Inside Europe, the epidemic is slowing down. France will look favourably on the reopening of interior borders in Europe from June 15, if the health situation permits, with no quarantine for visitors from European countries.”
À l’intérieur de l’Europe, l’épidémie ralentit : la France sera favorable à une réouverture des frontières intérieures de l’Europe à compter du 15 juin si la situation sanitaire le permet, sans quatorzaine pour les voyageurs en provenance de pays européens. #déconfinement— Edouard Philippe (@EPhilippePM) May 28, 2020
Under current regulations, all visitors to France are being asked to quarantine voluntarily for two weeks. France may also continue to request voluntary "reciprocal" quarantine for travellers from countries that have their own quarantine rules in place for travellers from France, such as the UK.
Orly airport to open June 26
Paris airport operator Aéroports de Paris have confirmed that Orly Airport in the south of Paris will reopen for commercial flights on June 26.
Visitors to the airport will have to wear masks at all times, and social distancing markers will be introduced. Hand gel dispensers will be installed, cleaning procedures will be updated, and measures will be put in place to reduce physical contact during security checks.
Thermal cameras will also be installed to check passengers’ temperatures on arrival in the airport. President of Aéroports de Paris Augustin de Romanet explained than upon landing in Orly: “If necessary and if they wish, passengers can access medical care in the airport.
"This is in addition to testing methods at departure put in place by airlines, such as taking temperatures at boarding and asking passengers to declare they have no Covid-19 symptoms before travel.”
Commercial flights have been suspended at Orly since 31 March 2020. During confinement in France, the airport was used to evacuate patients sick with coronavirus to ease pressure on hospitals in the Ile-de-France region.
Nice airport to open June 1
Nice, France’s third-biggest airport, will reopen to commercial passengers from Monday June 1. Flights will be running to 20 destinations including Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes in mainland France, and Figari and Calvi in Corsica.
Outside of France, flights will run to European cities Frankfurt, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Vienna, Sofia, Budapest and Krakow.
Fights to destinations further afield are likely to remain unavailable for some time, as airlines try to keep up with regulations in each country. Isabelle Baumelle, operations director at the airport explained: “We know already that Air Canada won’t be here for the rest of summer. Like Air China, United Airlines and Delta Airlines, flying to China and the United States. For the rest we have visibility over the next 14 days or three weeks maximum.”
Passengers travelling through Nice airport will have access to hand gel dispensers, air and surface purifiers in toilets, and improved ventilation in the building. The airport has also invested in a UV "disinfectant robot", which emits ultraviolet light that eliminates the virus.
Un robot "désinfecteur" à UV ce jeudi dans une des salles du terminal 2 de l'@AeroportNice. Il va être utilisé pour limiter les risques de propagation du nouveau #coronavirus après la période de #confinement— Fabien Binacchi (@fabienbinacchi) May 7, 2020
(images Aéroport de Nice)#COVID19 #nice06 pic.twitter.com/LLvWdr4fJn
During confinement 85% of employees at the airport were put on partial unemployment. “In this period, in a normal year, we would have up to 45,000 passengers per day,” Ms Baumelle said. “This year, with all the cancellations, we’ve been struggling to reach 1,000 per day.”
Toulouse-Blagnac airport to increase flights progressively
In June, Toulouse-Blagnac airport will begin flying to eight new destinations in France, including Nice, Lyon, Caen, Ajaccio, Bastia, Strasbourg, Lorient and Paris.
These flights will start progressively with flights to Paris and Lyon being the first to be introduced at the beginning of the month.
Increased sanitation measures will include obligatory masks for all staff in contact with the public, available hand gel, Plexiglas screens between staff and passengers at counters, increased cleaning in passenger areas as well as signs, audio announcements and floor markers to encourage social distancing.
Passengers over the age of 10 must also wear masks inside the airport.
EasyJet to increase internal flights in France
EasyJet has confirmed it will progressively restart internal flights in France and the UK from June 15.
In France flights will be available from airports in Nice, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon and Lille. More routes are expected to be opened soon.
Onboard EasyJet flights, increased safety measures will be in place. Staff will wear face masks, cabins will be disinfected daily, there will be access to hand gel and antibacterial wipes, and no food will be served.
We're restarting some flights from 15 June 2020. We have put a number of biosecurity measures in place to protect you, our aircrew and our ground crew. Watch the video to find out more. pic.twitter.com/7eL6fKIwKy— easyJet (@easyJet) May 26, 2020
Although initial reservation levels are “encouraging” the airline does not expect demand for travel to return to previous levels until 2023, at the earliest. To counteract the effects of the pandemic, EasyJet recently announced that it would release 4,500 staff members, almost a third of its total workforce.
Competitors British Airways, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic have also announced staff cuts recently.
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