Would January’s controlled power cuts affect French airports?

It has been announced that the power outages could impact rail travel

We look at whether potential power cuts in France would affect airports
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Reader Question: I am due to fly to France by plane in January. If power cuts occur, will they affect airports?

If the electricity network comes under significant pressure this winter, and there emerges an increased risk of widespread blackouts, providers may carry out scheduled power cuts to reduce the strain on the system.

These power outages would last no more than two hours and would only affect certain areas of the country each time.

It is already known that they may affect rail transport but they will not necessarily affect airports.

This is firstly because some airports have been included in Enedis’ list of priority services – along with settings such as hospitals – to be excluded from the cuts.

This is the case for Aéroports de Paris, which manages Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget, according to Le Parisien (subscriber-only article).

Laurent Méric, Enedis’ spokesperson, has said that power cuts are possible in other airports, and that “it is a scenario that should be borne in mind”.

However, this should not severely affect airport services because: “All airports are equipped with generators for power cut situations; this is a security measure,” Nicolas Paulissen of the Union des aéroports français has said.

“These [generators] feed the critical parts of the airport: the runway lights for take-off and landings, security (passenger bag checks), bag check-in and sorting…”

Mr Méric also said that “airports have their own emergency electricity” supply, and that they are “capable of sustaining themselves”.

It is therefore highly unlikely that air traffic would be interrupted by a power cut as the generators can keep running for 24-48 hours.

Europe Écologie - Les Verts MP Sandrine Rousseau has told RMC and BFMTV that she would be “in favour” of power cuts in airports, commenting: “Why not? I would rather that than an oxygen machine, which I think is more important. We [would] switch everything off that is not absolutely indispensable.”

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