The airport in Cannes, which is expected to welcome an additional three million annual tourists when its new terminal opens in September 2021, has been ranked the one most likely to be affected by air traffic infrastructure constraints in this region of the world.
Cannes Airport is currently undergoing a revamp which will see three new terminals built and expanded over the next five years.
Spanning the existing boundaries of Cannes and the newly built La Grande Maranche District, this airport complex will ultimately see five new passenger terminals built to coincide with the planned growth in demand for air travel into this region.
At a projected cost of almost EUR 2 billion, the new terminals will expand capacity to nearly 15 million people per year, more than tripling the current airport’s capacity during the high summer season.
However, while the construction will be well underway by the time the airport’s new terminal opens in September 2021, the potential scale of disruption at other airports in the region – such as Toulouse – means this may not be enough.
New flights for Cannes
The expansion of the runway at Toulouse is already nearing completion with the first test flights taking off in mid-2021, with the official opening in the summer of 2021. This airport currently serves more than 2.8 million passengers each year.
According to the CAA, other new flights to be introduced in the region include Geneva-Marseille, Geneva-Valencia, Geneva-Cordoba and Geneva-Nizza in 2021.
The report highlights further opportunities to increase air capacity.
With the development of the new Toulouse airport predicted to effect more than 600,000 flights in the next years, Cannes Airport is also expected to be the most affected by construction activity in this region of the world, posing additional issues for the global aviation sector.
Airport worst affected by congestion
Regional authorities are aware that this will impact directly on passengers of the existing airport in Cannes.
It is estimated that these passengers, who are faced with more delays and longer journeys, could represent a total of 50,000 of the 170,000 potential new passengers arriving at the airport each year, according to the CAA.
According to the CAA, the current airport in Cannes is already the worst affected of all major airports in the region.
Cannes Airport currently suffers delays of up to 45 minutes on its three most important domestic and international routes – Paris-Calais-Paris, Milan-Bergamo-Paris and Milan-Düsseldorf-Paris – with estimated delays of up to 30 minutes on others, the CAA says.
However, the analysis shows that these delays will grow with the development of other airports in the region, as new routes, terminals and destinations are added to the airport system.
Conversely, while the airport could be further congested during this development phase, the current congestion is a consequence of growing demand in this part of the world.
This growth is the result of recent record levels of aviation activity in Europe – which has seen a total of more than 118 million passengers and more than 36 million tonnes of cargo air transported to and from the region, according to the CAA report.
While the construction of new airports is a vital part of the overall economic development of the regions in which they are being built, the new report suggests that even this will not be enough to ease congestion at existing airports.
Indeed, with the present rate of air traffic increase, the existing airport in Cannes’ capacity might be depleted in just 15 years.
For the aviation industry, it is now considered the more realistic option for airport authorities to try to attract more airlines into the region with the promise of wider flight slots to expand airport capacity.
However, for passengers, this is unlikely to happen soon enough.
Advice from Paris
To make matters worse, the report also includes detailed recommendations for the management of the existing airport in Cannes.
In particular, the report recommends reducing congestion on the existing airport by separating the arrival hall from the transfer desks, as well as helping travellers by displaying departure schedules from all departing flights.
It suggests that those travelling from the south-east could be best served by using alternative transport to reach the airport, as well as staying away from the airport as much as possible during peak hours.
Passengers should also be encouraged to travel at least two hours before their flight departs to arrive at the airport.
Finally, more passenger facilitation staff would be needed to provide customer service to passengers, including guiding and advising them in airport facilities as well as informing them of the airport layout, according to the CAA.
The report adds that additional security measures should also be implemented to help increase security measures and improve safety.
Aside from highlighting the shortage of airport capacity in Cannes, the CAA report highlights the difficulty of transporting passengers through the existing airport, despite the complex journey itself.
For those arriving by plane, the current airport, located in the heart of the city, is accessed from three different railway stations.
As well as using public transport, it is also recommended that passengers could walk to the train station, to make sure they arrive at the correct terminal in the city centre.
For those travelling from the south-east, the report recommends using the Airport Express Line, from the city centre, to get to the airport in less than an hour.
Once there, passengers should be encouraged to take the EasyBus, to and from the airport.
Even though it only operates for a limited number of flights, the CAA says that those who use the Express Line are likely to spend significantly less on flights, and could help ease the airport’s current congestion.
For those on the airfield, it is recommended that emergency airfield access be extended to facilitate the immediate evacuation of passengers in the event of an emergency.
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