Paris airport head fears ‘apocalyptic' delays due to Covid checks

Increased checks on passengers could cause severe delays, the Paris airports CEO has said, amid wider warnings on summer holidays

19 May 2021
Passengers wait in line for police checks at a Paris airport. Paris airport head fears ‘apocalyptic' delays due to Covid checks in summer

There will be increased police checks on passengers arriving at Paris airports this summer Pic: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

The head of airports in Paris has said that he fears “apocalyptic waiting times” in French airports this summer as a result of increased Covid-19 checks and rules.

CEO of airport group Aéroports de Paris (ADP), Augustin de Romanet, said yesterday that as travel starts to reopen and passenger numbers rise, he fears that the restrictions necessary due to Covid-19 will cause extreme wait times.

He said: “We have extra checks that are imposed on passengers due to the health situation, firstly a police passport check, then a PCR test from red countries [those most at-risk], then a second police check.

“Right now, on the top of my to-do list, is a discussion with the interior minister to avoid apocalyptic waiting times for passengers this summer.”

Mr de Romanet made the statement at a press conference on renewable airline fuel.

ADP said that passenger traffic in the month of April at Orly and Roissy airports in Paris had only reached 13.9% of the same month in 2019. But the company is expecting passenger numbers to rise by 35% over the year of 2021, as destinations begin to reopen in summer.

'Travel is still dangerous'

Mr de Romanet’s comments echo recent statements by UK under secretary of state for health in the House of Lords, Lord Bethell, on the difficulties of travel post-Covid.

In response to claims that people arriving at London Heathrow airport in the UK had been forced to stand next to arrivals from “red list” countries [those most at-risk from Covid], putting them at increased Covid risk, Lord Bethell told the House of Lords that “segregation is unbelievably difficult during travel”.

He said that is why travelling is still dangerous, and advised people not to take a foreign holiday this year, despite it being theoretically possible according to the new ‘traffic light’ travel system.

France is set to adopt a similar traffic light system as the UK. France is currently ‘amber’ on the UK’s list.

Read more: What could France’s traffic light plan mean for summer travel abroad?
Read more: France is on England’s amber travel list: 10-day quarantine required

Yet, while travel is technically permitted to amber countries, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated that holidays and travel to these countries are not recommended.

He said: “I think it's very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.

“And if people do go to an amber list country, [if] they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you'll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form, and all the rest of it.”

He issued the warning after reports that more than 150 flights to destinations including France had departed the UK on Monday (May 17), despite it still being an ‘amber’ destination from the UK.

Read more: Rules for visitors to EU from UK and US to be debated by ambassadors

EU ambassadors are set to meet today (May 19) to discuss whether fully vaccinated travellers – including those from the UK – might be permitted to travel into the bloc without restrictions.

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Covid France: Four more countries added to quarantine-on-arrival list
French health pass can be used for EU travel from June 17

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