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France: intermediate airports in danger

The Court of Auditors has questioned the usefulness and effectiveness of State subsidies

Intermediate airports in France feel threatened. After the Cour des Comptes questioned the usefulness and effectiveness of state subsidies last June, the auditors put the performance of each individual airport under the investigation by the Internal Revenue. This is the result: the major air traffic is concentrated on 32 large stopovers with low-cost flights to the United Kingdom. Therefore, on wonder about the future of 41 intermediate airports. 

The Fédération Nationale des Associations d'usagers des Transports (Fnaut), which protects the rights of passengers, had already reported the system of state subsidies since 2012: quantified at 1300 Euros per passenger in some airports. François Delétraz, spokesperson for the association, explained: "The data is old, but remains relevant. I don't think taxpayers are happy. Municipalities think that an airport creates economic value, but the question is whether it really has good value for money-price or not". 

The auditors say the 41 intermediate airports, generally owned by local councils, serve between 10,000 and 3 million passengers a year. These are airports with high costs, but which do not benefit from income from parking and shops. Airports with fewer than 700,000 passengers per year were found to be "economically fragile and dependent on low-cost airlines". The court therefore finds that "the French airport map must change". This puts state subsidies at risk, so some municipalities, which consider the airports a public service, will have to put more money on the table if they want to save them.

Gic - 1254511

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency