Groupe ADP, which manages Paris airports, is preparing for the consultation phase of a major capacity expansion program at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport.
Terminal 4 is being designed to enable CDG to cope with continuing passenger traffic growth, adding a capacity of 35-40 million passengers. Construction works would be spread over 2021-2037, with a partial opening in 2028. The plan does not involve any additional runway, as the current four are believed to be able to accommodate the predicted increase in aircraft movements.
Passenger traffic at CDG hit a record 72.2 million in 2018. With an annual 2%-3% growth, ADP forecasts it will stand at between 107-126 million passengers in 2037. In aircraft movements, the increase would be slightly slower, because of raising aircraft capacities. Aircraft movements would thus reach an estimated 620,000-660,000 in 2037.
Without the extra terminal, the limit in passenger capacity will be reached in 2024, ADP asserted. Not going ahead with Terminal 4 would congest the airport everywhere, ADP said. It would also be a lost opportunity in terms of tourism and business travel, the company suggested. However, ADP did not say how it will cope with the traffic increase predicted for 2025-28.
Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith has convinced ADP to postpone the partial opening to 2028, from 2024, according to dailies Les Echos and La Tribune. In 2024, Terminal 4 would provide the main user of CDG with an insufficient level of service, Smith argued.
The consultation phase—notably based on public meetings—will last from Feb. 12 to May 12. It is not mandatory for such a project, ADP pointed out. But company executives want to gather support locally, probably having in mind France’s latest airport construction plan. To be located near Nantes, in the western part of the country, the new airport proposal was terminated in 2018 after years of dispute, including multiple lawsuits and land occupation by opponents. A proposal for a third airport in the Paris area also had its share of controversy and was dropped in the early 2000s.
A group of local residents, Advocnar, has already voiced concern against Terminal 4. The association has launched a “No, thanks” campaign, claiming the additional 500 flights per day in 2037 would create too much nitrous oxide and noise. “ADP has delusions of grandeur, regardless of the health and quality of life of the population overflown,” Advocnar said.
The addition of a terminal is planned to be accompanied by new means of ground transportation. A highway will improve access from the east. As soon as 2024, the dedicated CDG Express train line is scheduled to complement the existing RER B, widely seen as below international airport standards in terms of speed and comfort. From 2028-30, a new metro line will reach CDG, too. ADP and local city councils, however, are wary of delays in the construction of those infrastructures.
In Villiers-le-Bel, the town council last November issued a motion on Terminal 4, deeming the project “unacceptable” unless action is taken to improve ground transportation and mitigate noise, including creating a night curfew. The council also insisted on prioritization for local employment, as well as “help” for homeowners should the value of housing drop.