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Air transport: France is lacking boldness and imagination

Jean-Louis Baroux’s Chronicle

At a time when all Asian countries are equipped with modern infrastructure, why is France lagging behind? Why do not we have a major low cost airline? And what about airport transports? In this column, Jean-Louis Baroux deplores and questions certain peculiarities of French air transport and its entrepreneurial spirit...

Rédigé par La Rédaction le Vendredi 7 Mars 2014

We just renovate to the minimum inadequate infrastructure instead of creating new worthy terminals. We have spaces in Roissy. Why don’t we use them? - DR: Emile LUIDER THE COMPANY Aéroports de Paris
We just renovate to the minimum inadequate infrastructure instead of creating new worthy terminals. We have spaces in Roissy. Why don’t we use them? - DR: Emile LUIDER THE COMPANY Aéroports de Paris
DARE! For years, I’ve been observing the evolution of French air transport, but also at the European and even global level.

Forgive me for what may seem arrogant, but it is true that within the APG, led for several years by Sandrine de Saint Sauveur, we have a global coverage of airline companies with 200 clients and a network present in 105 countries.

All this to say that we have good elements to compare ourselves with.

Well, actually, when I look at France in this environment, I am struck by our timidity in this sector.

To be honest, we’re unimpressive. Do you want examples?

The second French carrier is British...

Come on let’s talk about airports.

While the Spaniards equip themselves with modern and appropriate terminals altogether, not for the current traffic, but for that of 2020, while all the Asian countries are equipped with modern facilities, convenient and tailored to traffic growth, and this for a few years now, or even African countries are building new facilities, we just renovate, to minimum, our current equipment.

Except that they were designed in the 1960s and built in the 1970s. This is to say that they are 50 years of age.

It sounds unbelievable but it is the truth, the sad truth.

Let’s talk about airline companies. While the phenomenon of "Low Cost" has become a reality, do we have in our country an airline of this type can be competitive in foreign countries?

The second French carrier is EasyJet, that is to say a British company. And we accept it without flinching.

Let’s talk airport transport: most developed countries have established clean and efficient routes and I would say popular among the major airports and cities site. What about France? Little or nothing.

The CDG Express will emerge, perhaps in a few years and Orly will truly be connected to Paris when the infrastructure of the Greater Paris becomes operational.

Dare, the only slogan that we should have

Even our projects are of poor quality. They are too small. They lack enthusiasm.

To be honest it seems that we’re operating on "weak gas" to quote the words of a politician of the 3rd Republic about one of his colleagues.

Future projects for our airports? Where are they? Where are the builders of the post-war years?

We just renovate to a minimum inadequate infrastructures instead of building, unlike the Gulf or Asian countries that are creating terminals worthy of the name, that is to say, buildings capable of handling 60 million passengers and a hundred aircrafts on contact.

We have the spaces in Roissy the 1960 developers had anticipated. Why don’t we use it?

Why do we wait for 2019 to create the railway junction between the Pont de Rungis station and Orly airport? There are only two kilometers to equip.

Are we not able to finance it? But at the same time, we’re tearing ourselves apart on the construction of a second airport whose uselessness is obvious, I’m talking about Notre- Dame-des –Landes.

Why does the French Civil Aviation not initiate the project of a "Low Cost" company even it if needs to be operated by private companies?

It would certainly be more profitable than limiting the Orly airport to 250,000 movements and trying to block foreign operators.

Then why, as the leading helicopter manufacturer is there no helicopter company worthy of the name?

Why do the DGAC services have always been so cautious on the topic when we could open up on 60 small and medium towns for a very reasonable cost?

Why does Air France / KLM need 3 years to renovate its class system to bring them to the level when the world's best companies were already there 5 years ago?

Why is it that every time we try to undertake, we act as if we were afraid?

Fear of unions, fear of government, fear of the future. In this game, we'll never win, we’re never conquerors.

And yet we have the individual resources to create and reinvigorate our country. I'm not here to give lessons to France, simply to shed light on some of the features of our air transport

So dare, this is the only motto that we should have. While daring may be risky, aren’t the risks greater if we do nothing?

Air transport: France is lacking boldness and imagination
Jean-Louis Baroux, is the former president of APG (Air Promotion Group) and the creator of the CAF (Cannes Airlines Forum) which became the World Air Forum.

Air Transportation Specialist, he signed at L'Archipel Publishers ''Compagnies Aériennes: la faillite du modèle” [“Airlines: A Bankruptcy Model” – translator’s note], a book that all tourism professionals should have read.

The copyrights will be donated to charity. It can be purchased at:

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