Elisabeth Borne, the French Minister for Transport and Environment, had today announced that all air links from France to places outside the Schengen zone have now been halted. She clarified that the decision was not a part of any policy restricting incoming flights. Instead, it is representative of all airlines from outside the Schengen area stopping their services to France. This includes flights from French airlines like Air France, Corsair, and French Bee.
Paris without tourists is hard to believe
France is by far the most visited country in the world by tourists. The capital city of Paris is the second most visited in the world, usually attracting more than 19 million visitors a year. Today, Paris is empty.
Travel restrictions and inadequate demand have led to non-European airlines pulling their services out of French cities. Since this is a result of the current circumstance, it is hard to predict when regular services will resume.
However, in the last few weeks, there have been plenty of flights that were operated out of France to long-haul destinations. Most of these flights were repatriation flights operated by Air France or other international carriers to bring back their respective citizens.
Now that most of the French citizens have been repatriated and there is still little demand for travel, airlines have found it unprofitable to fly into France. Nevertheless, it is possible that there might be more non-scheduled passenger services to France in the coming days.
While a few flights still operate out of French airports, the vast majority are domestic services. A handful of scheduled flights to nearby European cities still fly.
As a result of this, passenger traffic for the first two weeks of April at the two major Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY), has dropped by 98%. During normal operations, CDG has nine operating terminals. However, since March 30th, only four of these are in operation. Additionally, all passenger services out of ORY have been canceled since April 1st.
When will normal operations resume?
French President Emmanuel Macron had recently predicted that normal travel into France might not happen until at least September. But, the statement was criticized for being too optimistic and, at the same time, ignorant of the seriousness of the pandemic. Ministers of Italy and Spain have both expressed a realistic prediction that international travel wouldn’t likely return in 2020 at all.
For now, it’s estimated that the European airline industry might recover by the second quarter of 2021.
Travelers seeking further information on this matter can follow the meeting of EU leaders on April 22nd. We are hopeful that this will lead to a convention that helps in a quick recovery of the airline industry.
When do you think everything will be back to normal? Let us know in the comments.