31.03.2020 Europe

Paris domestic airport shuts doors indefinitely to commercial traffic

© Benoit Tessier/Reuters
LISTEN MAR 31, 2020
© Benoit Tessier/Reuters

As of Tuesday midnight, Orly, Paris' main domestic airport, will close its doors to commercial flight because of the drop in passenger traffic due to travel restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

On Monday Orly airport had only 20 flights and a thousand passengers, compared to a usual day with 600 flights and 90,000 passengers.

Aeroports de Paris, which runs Orly and Charles-de-Gaulle airports, had already shut several terminals at both airports, as airlines slashed flights as travel restrictions came into fore to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

At midnight ADP will close Orly to all commercial traffic for an indefinite amount of time. The air traffic control tower will stay open, to manage official flights, as well as health-related and emergency needs.

Any remaining commercial flights will be rerouted to Charles-de-Gaulle, the main international hub for Paris, and Europe's second-busiest airport.

European air traffic has gone down 80 per cent. Charles-de-Gaulle today sees about 10,000 passengers (compared to 200,000 normally). Air France is one of the last companies to be operating flights, with only 10 per cent of its original offer.

The remaining passengers are mostly French citizens being repatriated, or foreigners still trying to get home. France has been working to put diplomatic pressure to get the stragglers home.

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