Air bridge reconnects Corsica to mainland France

Storm Fabien left island cut off from mainland over the weekend

23 December 2019
Ajaccio airport is closed due to flooding following Storm Fabien

An 'air bridge' has been hurriedly created between Corsica and mainland France after Storm Fabien cut the island off from the rest of the country at the weekend.

Air Corsica described the operation as 'exceptional', as it redirected customers from Ajaccio airport to Bastia on Monday, December 23. Buses have been laid on to transport stranded passengers.

The storm - with recorded wind speeds of up to 216kph on the island - forced the closure of Corsica's airports and stopped ferry services from operating. 

Ajaccio airport remained closed on Monday due to flooding. Pumps have been installed to move the water as quickly as possible but officials are unable to confirm when it will reopen. A total 87 flights have been confirmed in and out of Bastia on Monday, with capacity for nearly 12,000 passengers. Bastia airport normally handles 1.5million passengers a year.

Ferry services were expected to resume on Monday, after the storm died down. And EDF expected to reconnect the 3,500 homes left without power on the island.

Elsewhere, four people were hurt, one of them seriously, and thousands of homes were left without power as Fabien wreaked havoc over the weekend.

Just four departments remain on orange weather alert on Monday. Charente-Maritime, Finistère and Ille-et-Villaine are at risk of floods, while Savoie is on alert for avalanches.

As reported, some 100,000 homes - mostly in Nouvelle Aquitaine - were without power on Sunday morning as the storm battered the southwest of the country. By the end of the day, most had been reconnected, with just 18,000 still powerless, EDF reported. Another 3,500 on Corsica were cut off in the evening, as Fabien swept southeast.

France, however, has escaped relatively lightly, despite the damage and disruption. The storm killed nine people in Portugal and Spain.

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