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Nice airport’s commercial aviation traffic fell an astounding 68.4% in 2020. Though alarming, the slow year did allow airport authorities to rebuild and renovate, getting a jump on creating “the airport of tomorrow”.
A report issued by Nice Côte d’Azur on Thursday revealed that the airport saw a massive drop in both air traffic and passengers in 2020, with only 4.58 million people travelling commercially through the third busiest airport in France, equating to a 68.4% decline. In addition, there was also a 37.1% drop in general aviation practices for the year.
“This drop in activity is significant, but nevertheless should be put into perspective because it is less marked than most of the of other major airports – national or European,” said Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Airports of the Côte d’Azur. “This demonstrates the resilience and relevance of our model which favours direct connections, still mainly European and therefore less sensitive to border closures between continents which strongly impact long-haul traffic. But we remain confident for the recovery as the underlying assets of our territory, which remains particularly attractive, are powerful.”
In 2019, 14.485 million passengers went through Nice Côte d’Azur airport. In 2020, the Covid pandemic kept people at home in record numbers through border closures, fear of catching or spreading the virus, and general travel restrictions which prohibited casual travel much of the year and continues to do so into 2021.
But when life gives lemons, make lemonade. Nice Airport authorities used this time to carry out projects both on infrastructure and in the community.
Since early January, the airport has started works on renovating its North runway, which is normally dedicated to landings. The project was designed to lessen environmental impact and modernise the facility.
In order to make the project as eco-friendly as possible, the airport will be recycling 20% of the current asphalt as well as positioning a concrete plant nearby to reduce the number of construction vehicles required as well as lessening noise.
“The maximum reuse of the spoil and the construction of this temporary concrete plant are for us two important levers aimed at reducing the noise and atmospheric pollution of this site, which is part of a necessary and regular renovation policy of our infrastructures.” explained Mr Goldnadel.
The project is set to last for roughly one month and will employ 200 people.
Additionally, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, the owners of Nice Airport, have dedicated funds to reforest 2.6 hectares in the town of Carros which were destroyed by fire in 2017. In the first phase, 2,080 plants, including holm oak, downy oak, and various rowan trees, will be planted.
Additionally, 500 cedar plants will be planted near Cannes-Mandelieu Airport in the village of Saint-Cesaire-sur-Siagne. The total funding offered comes to €70,000, with an increase in 2021 to €100,000.
“The preservation of our territory has been our top priority for many years,” said Mr Goldnadel. “This is how we were the first airport in France to achieve carbon neutrality, in 2016. Today, we are continuing our efforts, despite the situation linked to the pandemic, and we are committing to a multi-year forest reforestation program in the municipalities of our territory. These first trees planted this winter will be followed by many others over the next few years.”
According to the airport group’s forecast, they will participate in the reforestation efforts of over 80% of the communal forests in the Alpes-Maritimes over the next 10 years. The trees planted will help eliminate 300 tonnes of carbon from the air.
After five months of negotiation, Société des Bains de Mer, Monaco’s largest employer, has reached an agreement that will result in over 200 voluntary retirements and four forced retirements.
The European Commission has launched a preliminary inquiry into airlines after complaints by consumers that pandemic-related reimbursements are difficult to obtain.
The public is invited to bid on vehicles that have been seized or reformed by the government with acceptable offers starting from €30 for cars and €15 for motorbikes.
Prince Albert has delivered the keynote address at this year’s World Ocean Summit, saying there are few issues as urgent and close to us as those concerning the ocean.
Pope Francis has taken a great personal interest in the aftermath of the July 14 attack in Nice that cost the lives of 86 people, and will soon meet the families of the victims of the atrocity at the Vatican. Christian Estrosi, the President of the PACA region, will also attend on September 24. Estrosi said: “I firmly hope that this day will help alleviate the suffering of victims, enabling us to come together in our collective grief.”
Pope Francis had telephoned Christian Estrosi two days after the Bastille Day attack on the Promenade des Anglais to convey his support to the local community. The Pope had also spoken on the phone with Paolo Celi, president of the France-Italy Friendship Association. Celi said: “He asked me to convey a message to all the families involved in some way by this terrible tragedy, all of Nice and the people of France. He is horrified by the events and demands deep and final peace among men of all races, religion, and affiliation.”
Pope Francis does not understand that one can target children and their families that have come together to participate in a moment of happiness, said Celi, adding that “we ask everyone to pray for the victims and he has the strength to do the job".