New France flights and ferry routes, worst airport: 6 travel updates

We also look at a train travel boom in the south, no-barrier motorway tolls in Normandy and new ferry routes to Ireland

Paris Orly ‘Europe’s worst airport for delays’, new Easyjet routes, the rail travel boom in Occitanie and the A13 in Normandy
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This week you might have seen our articles on the drivers’ group fighting France’s speed bumps, how to pay less for car insurance and the continuing disruption caused by the floods in Calais.

Air Travel updates:

EasyJet has announced nine new routes from France starting in summer 2024.

The low cost airline has significantly expanded its operations in France this year, opening a total of 35 new routes, including 15 over the winter season.

This expansion is set to continue in 2024 with the announcement of its new summer routes.

The new routes will fly from:

Nantes to:

  • Alicante (Spain) from April 1 (Mondays and Thursdays)
  • Malaga (Spain) from June 3 (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays)
  • Larnaca (Cyprus) from June 30 (Sundays)

Nice to

  • Alicante from May 5 (Mondays and Fridays)
  • Malaga from June 2 (Wednesdays and Sundays)
  • Cephalonia (Greece) from June 30 (Sundays)

Lyon to:

  • Alicante from May 4 (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Madrid (Spain) from March 31 (Fridays and Sundays)

Lille to:

  • Alicante from May 1 (Wednesdays and Sundays)

Bertrand Godinot, Easyjet’s Director for France and the Netherlands said the new routes show the company’s commitment to regional airports.

“The offer for next summer stays true to our current strategy: to connect the regions of France and to open them to international travel at an affordable price,” he said.

“In the current context of rising inflation, our clients are very much aware of convenience, ease of access and value for money. These values are among the tenets of our company.”

The new summer flights are available for reservation on Easyjet’s website.

French airports are the ‘worst in Europe for delays and cancellations’ according to a report by a passenger rights company.

Four French airports feature among the worst ten airports for delays and cancellations in 2023 according to Flightright, a German claims management company that enforces passenger rights against airlines in cases of flight disruptions.

The airports in question were:

Paris Orly ranked top of the table for delays and cancellations in Europe.

  • Paris Orly - 2,103 cancellations (2.5% of flights) and 14,558 delays (17.29%)
  • Toulouse-Blagnac - 632 cancellations (2.38%) and 4,960 delays (18.70%)
  • Lyon-Saint-Exupéry - 768 cancellations (2.25%) and 7,681 delays (22.54%)
  • Marseille-Provence - 797 cancellations (2.22%) and 6,794 delays (18.92%).
  • The best placed French airport on the list was Paris Charles de Gaulle, which came 29th out of the 30 ranked for delays.

    Outside of France, Heathrow airport ranked in seventh place for most delays and cancellations.

    Train updates:

    Occitanie is the best region in France at convincing people to take the train

    More people are taking local trains all over the country, with an average increase in overall passenger numbers of 10% on 2022 and 15% on 2019.

    However, the numbers are much higher in Occitanie where they have increased by 20% on 2022 and by 44% on 2019 numbers.

    The president of Occitanie, Carole Delga, said these results are a testament to the region’s transport policy.

    “Our political will is paying off. The proof is in changes in people’s behaviour and in these results.

    “Free for young people, €1 for workers with a rail card and for the general public every first weekend of the month, old lines reopening, more stops, greener and more comfortable trains… our transportation vision is of a scale seen nowhere else in the country,” she said.

    “[The success of rail transport] in the region is also proof that trains are our best tool to face the current cost of living challenges and climate change.”

    She added that the region will announce a new raft of measures to extend access to public transport on November 15, targeting young people.

    The worst performing region is Hauts-de-France, where overall passenger numbers have fallen by 1% on 2019 and increased by a meagre 5% on 2022.

    Read more: Montpellier to be first French city to make all public transport free

    Ferry updates:

    Brittany Ferries has closed its Rosslare to Le Havre line, but is increasing its capacity between Rosslare and Cherbourg.

    The company has decided to concentrate its operations for both passengers and freight in Cherbourg, from where it also operates lines to the UK.

    The 17-hour trip between Rosslare and Cherbourg is slightly shorter than the route to Le Havre and now has an extra ship, the Cotentin, that was previously on the Le Havre route.

    The company now offers two overnight sailings a week, on Mondays and Fridays.

    The decision is largely strategic, since Brittany Ferries is to open a ‘rail-freight motorway’ next year, running from Cherbourg to Bayonne.

    The 900km rail link is expected to cut the number of lorries on French roads by 25,000 each year.

    Tickets between Rosslare and Cherbourg are available on Brittany Ferries’Irish website from €75.

    Irish Ferries have chartered a ferry from P&O to continue its route to Cherbourg while its own W.B. Yeats ferry undergoes an overhaul.

    The Norbay, which was previously used by P&O on the Liverpool to Dublin route, entered service with Irish Ferries on November 5 and will remain with them for at least six months.

    The replacement ferry has a far lower capacity than the W.B. Yeats with only rudimentary services.

    Irish Ferries says the ferry will offer “economy class service” during the overhaul of the W.B. Yeats.

    The replacement ferry’s facilities consist of 2-berth passenger cabins, a small bar and restaurant area, a Duty-Free kiosk and information desk.

    Wheelchair access is also limited, with staircases providing the only access to passenger accommodation.

    Road updates:

    Automatic ‘free-flow’ tolls are to be introduced on the A13 and A14 motorways between Paris in Normandy from next year.

    The new system, which should be operational from June 2024, will cover 210km between Paris and Caen via Rouen.

    The removal of the current tolls should cut the travel time between Normandy and the capital, says François Cornier, the director of motorway operator Sanef.

    “It is hard to say exactly how much time the system will save,” he told

    “But on busy weekends, I think we can help cut half an hour off the trip between Paris and Caen.”

    The automatic toll gates of the new system will read vehicle number plates and record how far they have travelled.

    Drivers will be able to purchase ‘badges’ that allow the system to charge them a monthly fee for their motorway use.

    If they do not have badges, drivers will have to pay online or in a tabacs-presse anywhere in the country within 72 hours.

    People who fail to pay within this time, will be fined €10 , rising to €90 after 15 days, and €375 after 63 days.

    A similar system, which was introduced last year on an 88km stretch of the A79 motorway between Saône-et-Loire and Allier, has left tens of thousands of drivers confused by the payment system.

    The A79 automatic toll has already has a backlog of 180,000 unpaid fines.

    Read more: 180,000 unpaid fines for no-barrier French motorway section