Paris Orly Airport Could Remain Closed Through September

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Today, a French news outlet has warned that Paris Orly Airport (ORY) could remain closed until the fall. The airport has been closed since the start of last month but will unlikely reopen until things get better. The coronavirus has drastically reduced air travel to and from France, and all remaining services will continue to be handled at Paris Charles De Gaulle throughout the summer.

Air France A340
ORY is expected to stay closed as CDG takes all Parisian traffic. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

Orly’s doors remain shut

Shockwaves from the coronavirus pandemic are still being felt as many countries keep their borders closed for all but essential travel. Paris is no exception. In April 2020, air traffic across Europe was down by 91%. For the first two weeks of April, just 2% of services were operating in and out of Paris.

This situation is unprecedented in its magnitude, and while many airlines are keen to fly again, a measured approach counts for more than desire. For this reason, the French media outlet Les Echos reported that Orly is likely to remain closed until the fall. The site said it had been informed about this from a source close to the matter.

Paris Orly Airport confirmed to Travel Weekly that this was indeed the case, although it didn’t offer any additional information. The spokesperson said:

“Orly airport is closed to September (and might be closed to fall) until further notice.”

Charles De Gaulle
Since air traffic is below 90% of typical figures, Paris CDG’s three terminals are managing well. Photo: Dmitry Avdeev via Wikimedia Commons

The airport has been closed since 1st April 2020, and all remaining flights are being routed through Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG).

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What does the future look like?

Paris CDG has been open for all Parisian traffic since Paris Orly Airport shut down. This strategy is expected to continue throughout the summer. At the moment, a portion of just one terminal at the airport is open. Passengers can fly from Paris Charles De Gaulle from Terminal 2A, 2E, and 2F only.

Orly South Terminal
Only select portions of Paris CDG are open. Will Orly be required? Photo: Bair175 via Wikimedia Commons

Even though Paris is operating at a reduced airport capacity, it is sufficient for now. So, what happens when more flights take off in the summer? Well, it’s likely that there still won’t be the capacity needed for Paris Orly to open.

The CEO of the Air France-KLM Group, Ben Smith, says that he expects air traffic to still be down by 40% at the end of the summer in August. By September, the volume of flights could still be meager. It’s more likely that Paris CDG will open up slowly before there is any real plan to make Orly operational again.

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Is this the right approach?

Many people working at Parisian airports have temporarily lost their jobs. 80% of administrative workers, baggage handlers and security personnel (to name but a few) who operate as part of Aéroports de Paris have been placed on furlough, according to the New York Times.

Air France Airbus A340-300 F-GLZU @ Paris Orly
Many Paris Airport employees have been furloughed to help manage the financial burden of the crisis. Photo: Mathieu Marquer via Flickr

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts that European airports will lose around 35% of their passengers by the end of 2020, along with 42% of their revenue. It is the region of the world expected to be the hardest hit in 2020 due to the coronavirus. You can read more about the ICAO’s predictions for 2020 international air travel in our article here.

Will you miss Paris Orly Airport? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

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