Issued on: 24/06/2020 – 08:22Modified: 24/06/2020 – 08:22
Orly airport south of Paris is to reopen Friday after shutting down on March 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with just a fraction of its normal flights.
A plane to Porto, Portugal is scheduled to take off at 6:00am (0400 GMT), and around 25 destinations are to be served via 70 takeoffs and landings, compared with 600 a day before the virus crisis grounded aircraft worldwide.
On Friday, officials expect around 8,000 passengers to pass through Orly, less than 10 percent of the daily average of around 90,000. Only the third of Orly’s four terminals will reopen at first.
Increased traffic in July will depend on whether Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia reopen their borders.
“We are facing an extremely brutal and long crisis, and we are bracing for a resumption that will be somewhat long, if not extremely long,” Alain Battisti, head of France‘s federation of commercial aviation (Fnam) said Tuesday.
Airlines including Air France, Transavia, easyJet, Vueling and Air Caraïbes account for most of the traffic at Orly, flying to the Caribbean, Reunion Island, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Iceland and Croatia, among other destinations.
As part of new safety measures, Orly’s operator Aéroports de Paris (ADP) has installed 137 Plexiglas screens at counters and 150 sanitiser dispensers, along with more than 7,000 posters and stickers to ensure social distancing.
Thermal cameras will screen travellers upon arrival to help detect potential coronavirus cases.
Orly is the French capital’s second-largest hub after Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) north of Paris. Charles de Gaulle remained open throughout the country’s Covid-19 lockdown, though traffic collapsed by almost 98 percent in the month of May.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)