Paris C-de-G airport facing summer chaos after deadly terminal collapse

6th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 6 (AFP) - French authorities are facing a summer of saturated flight arrivals and departures at Paris as they struggle with the consequences of a deadly terminal collapse at Charles de Gaulle airport six weeks ago.

PARIS, June 6 (AFP) - French authorities are facing a summer of saturated flight arrivals and departures at Paris as they struggle with the consequences of a deadly terminal collapse at Charles de Gaulle airport six weeks ago.

Preliminary findings released Tuesday said the May 23 accident, which killed four passengers, was caused by metal supports piercing the concrete roof of the tubular Terminal 2E, causing it to split and part of it to collapse.

The accident has cut the airport's capacity by 15 percent, and caused many flight delays. Some planes were being routed to other terminals or to Orly airport on the opposite side of the capital.

The body tasked with organising Paris flight "slots", COHOR, said Tuesday it was abandoning an idea to permanently move one or several airlines from Charles de Gaulle to Orly, saying there was not sufficient capacity at the other, smaller airport to meet demand.

COHOR said that "given the small number of slots available, it was not possible to allow the transfer of activity requested, which could have reduced activity at Terminal 2."

It said British Airways had asked to move its flights to Orly, but had required four daily slots to London-Gatwick whereas fewer than three per day were available.

According to the state-run airport operator, Aeroports de Paris (ADP), Orly has a potential to increase its traffic handling by only around 25 percent.

But the number of passengers transiting through both facilities can nearly triple during the July-September vacation period, when French people often take a month off and foreigner tourists flock to the country, ADP says, adding that half a million passengers were expected over each of three peak weekends in the period.

American Airlines said two weeks ago that it had declined an offer for it to move out of Charles de Gaulle to Orly because it was not "financially viable" and in any case would do little to alleviate congestion.

It denied an assertion from a French airport source at the time who said the US airline had tried to negotiate a lower lease arrangement and get some of its transfer costs reimbursed in order for the move to go ahead.

The preliminary report on the collapse, released by France's transport ministry, said "perforation" by the cylindrical metal struts that held up the roof of Terminal 2E was the main cause of the accident.

It was not yet known why metal supports had crunched into the concrete structure they were supposed to be supporting, a ministry statement said, but it suggested it was probable that gradual deterioration of the condition of the concrete had aided the undermining process.

Authorities are awaiting confirmation of the reasons of the collapse to determine whether the rest of the terminal - which was opened just last year at a cost of EUR 750 million (USD 900 million) - should be demolished.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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