New plans for Nantes airport confirmed

The measures were announced this week, with key changes including fewer night flights

Nantes Atlantique airport is to receive changes to operations - including fewer night flights, and a longer runway - the French junior transport minister has announced.

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari made the announcement on Monday October 28, after a public consultation.

He announced 31 changes in total, which are expected to come into force by the end of 2021.

Key changes include measures to reduce plane noise at night, a longer runway, increased passenger capacity, and a new approach on routes and altitudes of flights over built-up areas of the city.

Mr Djebbari said: “The introduction of a curfew is a strong, unanimous demand. [We have launched] a study into a fairer [plane route] approach, with a view to banning night flights between midnight and 6h, and a ban on the noisiest planes from 22h to 6h.”

Discussions on the exact new plane routes are still underway.

Mr Djebbari also confirmed “a special right of surrender (droit de délaissement exceptionnel)” for homeowners in the area. This means that those who bought their home between 2010 and 2018 and who are in line to suffer from significant plane noise, will be allowed to re-sell their properties back to State.

This is in addition to already-announced plans to help 6,000 homeowners to add soundproofing to their properties.

The measures come as the airport confirms its expansion. By 2040, it expects to welcome 11.4 million passengers per year, compared to the 6.2 million who used the airport in 2018.

The long-term plan is to ensure capacity for 15 million passengers per year, if initial forecasts are exceeded.

In a statement, the government said the airport’s redevelopment would require the acquisition of 35 hectares of land, but would free up 65 hectares - “a net balance of 30 hectares that will be developed”, it said.

 

“Disappointing”

A group of around 80 people gathered in front of the airport, to protest what they expected to be a “disappointing” report.

Joël Sauvaget, president of anti-airport noise group le Collectif des Citoyens Exposés au Trafic Aérien (Coceta), said: “We were not expecting much. The option that has been kept is not a surprise, and does not solve the problem of flyovers at low altitude.

“The curfew [we asked for] was the strict minimum, and we did not get it. They can give us all the compensation they like, but it will not stop the [noise].”

Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes and president of the Nantes metropolitan area, said that the measures included “several elements moving towards the limitation of noise disruption”.

Ms Rolland added that “the State must now make good on its plans to address the dual challenge of increasing the dynamism of the area, while also protecting residents”.

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