COVID May Have Killed Plans For Charles De Gaulle’s 4th Terminal

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The government of France will reconsider the development of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport’s (CDG) Terminal 4. Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari shared today that the coronavirus pandemic is a significant contribution to the change of plan.

CDG Airport
Expected progress at CDG may not happen. Photo: Paris Aéroport

High hopes

The project of CDG’s Terminal 4 was started in response to the growth of worldwide traffic and the associated need to upgrade the quality of service at the hub. The development would include the construction of buildings, taxiways, roads, and internal rail services to the airport.

State-owned airport operator ADP shared that capacity of Terminal 4, and the airport platform had been projected to be in the range of 35 to 40 million travelers each year. Environmental activists and local communities were already against the project.

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However, the impact of the global health crisis is another deterrent. Passenger numbers have plummeted, and it is expected to take several years for the industry to recover. Therefore, the hub’s advancement is not as urgent as before.

CDG
Despite some recent activity, several aircraft in France remain on the ground: Getty Images

Change of circumstances

As reported by Reuters, Djebbari told Europe 1 radio the following:

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“The project to receive 40 million more passengers by 2030 is probably no longer justified as it was planned…the problem of T4 will be reviewed in depth, that is the reality…The project to receive 40 million more passengers by 2030 is probably no longer justified as it was planned.”

Nonetheless, Djebbari said that French airports would still need investment for upgrades and would have to make sure that new types of planes, such as hydrogen-powered aircraft can land. He added that he has talked about the issue several times with ADP CEO Augustin de Romanet.

Djebbari said the pandemic had cut traffic at French airports to about 40% of pre-crisis activity, and domestic routes are busier than long-haul. Traffic is returning slowly, and his team is still waiting until September to see if business passengers return. At that time, there will be clues to see how the activity will pan out for the remainder of the year and 2020.

CDG
CDG isn’t so busy these days amid the downturn in passenger operations. Photo: Getty Images

A different direction

Earlier this week, ADP said that it could take up to seven years to recover completely from the impact of the pandemic. Moreover, it could cost as much as €9 billion ($10.5 billion) to develop the terminal. So, there is not as much incentive to get the project going at the moment.

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Altogether, even though the Terminal 4 plans are likely to change, French authorities are aware that there still needs to be some progress with developments at France’s airports. Therefore, even if this project does not go ahead as expected, some upgrades would be required by the time this decade is over.

Simple Flying reached out to CDG about these reports but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts about the development of Charles De Gaulle Airport’s Terminal 4? Do you feel that the delay would be a good move? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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