Friday, May 8, 2015

France has ten times more airports than Germany!

An astonishing statistic, but France has 160 passenger airports while Germanay manages with just 17. The bad news is that only 10% of the French airports are judged to be viable economically, with the remaider supported by subsidies - from the Region, chambers of commerce etc - to the tune of some 100 million euros each year.The Normandy region alone boast a dozn airports.

During an investigation by France's Channel 2 last night, the example of Dole (Jura) was highlighted. It somehos survives as a departure point for Ryanair flights to Morocco, but with low cost tickets still susidised - each customer paying 49 euros and the Region a further 23 euros on each ticket. Dole is located just 50 kms (half an hour) from Dijon which runs just 10 per cent of the flights it predicted after a 25 million euro investment.Even an idle airport can cost over one million euros annually to staff, service and maintain without a single flight taking off.

How did this situation arise? Last night's programme argued that many Regional governments mistakenly argue that a local airport brings further investment, people and jobs, but opponents argue that more often it creates a further tax burden for local residents. Competition from fast TGV links and a good road network can also reduce airport traffic, as can decisions by low-cost operators such as Ryanair and Hop! as to where they choose to base a service.