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Where is the promised big airport after Notre-Dame-des-Landes is deserted?

“We will assist the growth of Rennes Saint-Jacques, from the growth of the Rennes terminal to raised distribute visitors from Grand West”. Edouard Philippe’s phrases nonetheless resonate in the places of work of Rennes Airport. The then prime minister introduced the abandonment of the controversial challenge at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. For those that feared that Brittany would stay landlocked or that Nantes airport can be full, Emmanuel Macron’s right-hand man hailed Rennes as a miracle answer. Almost 5 years after the declaration, the promise has not been stored.

On the tarmac in Rennes, the orange and white EasyJet Airbus touchdown for its first flight is an exquisite sign. Coming from Lisbon, it confirms the confidence of the English airline on this small airport established since 2018. In late 2021, the low-cost firm opened a daily connection to Porto earlier than relaunching the line to London. . Three openings that shield Rennes Airport from recession. In 2019, easyJet CEO François Bachetta described the Breton capital as “a sleeping magnificence”. “I really like Rennes, it is all the time a pleasure to return right here. It’s true that he awoke nicely,” stated Reginald Otten, deputy director of easyJet in France.

Vueling is gone

After many years of scrapping, the platform took off in 2013 with the arrival of Vueling and the opening of strains to Barcelona, ​​Rome and Madrid. But the Covid disaster handed and the Spanish firm left. Why? “They bought the slot [créneaux horaires] to Orly and diverted their whole fleet thither. It was a suggestion they could not refuse,” Chivoin Rem, the very younger director of the airport, tries to justify.

EasyJet opened a regular line between Rennes and Lisbon and became the first company in terms of passenger numbers to the Breton capital.
EasyJet opened a daily line between Rennes and Lisbon and have become the first firm by way of passenger numbers to the Breton capital. – C. Allain/20 min

After breaking attendance data yearly, the platform suffered a complete lack of its closure. And the aim of exceeding a million and even 1.5 million passengers has flown. “We are rebuilding our providing with 11 locations and 14 routes We are enjoying on our qualities: this airport is easy, family-friendly, on a human scale”, continued the director. Impacted by Covid, its platform has regained 70% of its presence this 12 months as in comparison with the common of its opponents. He even misplaced his line off Casablanca “at the worst doable second” which died earlier than he was two years previous.

The 1.5 million aim is far, distant

But the way to clarify that Rennes doesn’t profit from the saturation of Nantes, which welcomed greater than 7.2 million vacationers in 2019? “We have quite a lot of potential but it surely is not exploited”, emphasised Harvey Kavalan over the years. The president of the Association for the Development of Rennes-Bretagne Airport (ADARB) believes that it is as much as the area to set larger targets for the construction’s shareholders Vinci and CCI. “Until 2024, the goal is 500,000 vacationers per 12 months and after that, they do not know if they are going to be renewed. How do you need to put money into them? Ask the consultants. The latter additionally addresses the lack of assist from Rennes Metropole, which “does nothing” to assist its airport. He doesn’t hesitate to ask for the finish of assist for smaller airports equivalent to Quimper or Lorient with a purpose to concentrate on the two “big ones” of Brest and Rennes.

To entice airways, the airport is betting on a mixture of tourism and enterprise but additionally on expatriates. With Lisbon and Porto, easyJet is aware of it will likely be capable of depend on the many Portuguese households established in the west. A good way to fill planes that might encourage different corporations to contemplate locations in the Maghreb or neighboring international locations. Maybe subsequent spring? “We are engaged on it,” stated the airport supervisor.

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