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Nice Côte d’Azur Airport has become one of the first airports in the world to announce its 2018 traffic figures, the French gateway handling a record 13.8 million passengers (+4.1%) last year.

The airport says that its eighth successive year of growth has consolidated its status as France’s “second-largest airport platform”.

It notes that the rise in direct destinations in France and abroad, and impressive 99% load factors during the busy summer months, fuelled the natural growth of traffic and connections for tourists.

The addition of 12 new destinations during the winter schedules also helped ensure the gateway’s 2018 success.

“Our ambitious partnership policy with the airlines has enabled us to continue to reduce the seasonal effect that has traditionally conditioned our activity,” emthuses Dominique Thillaud, chairman of the Board of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.

“The reduction of fees in the winter season is a strong signal that is unique in France and acts as a source of additional flows.”

Exponential international growth

Last year, international flights carried more than 9 million passengers, up 4.8% on 2017, while traffic on domestic flights grew by 2.8%.

While Europe, and the United Kingdom in particular, remain the main places of origin for visitors, long-haul connections are fuelling arrivals from the east coast of the United States or the Gulf states.


To ensure that it is capable of maintaining the upturn in traffic, in June 2018, Nice Côte d’Azur unveiled plans to extend Terminal 2, ultimately adding six more aircraft stands capable of accommodating long and medium-haul services.

Extending T2 and the addition of two gates in Terminal 1 will raise the airport’s capacity to 18 million passengers per annum by 2021.

“Our strategy clearly consists of offering a quality and competitive stop-over for passengers to as many destinations as possible worldwide,” adds Thillaud.

“We are convinced that the growth of air traffic and the saturation of French airspace requires the existing ultra-centralised model to be reviewed. This is already the case in all the major European countries.

“This strategic option is favourable from both the economic and environmental perspectives, because it will reduce the distances covered and the turn-around times.”

A carbon-neutral group

In 2016, Nice Côte d’Azur became the first French airport to receive level 3+ carbon-neutral accreditation in ACI’s  Airport Carbon Accreditation, and last September they were joned by two other airports in the group, Cannes-Mandelieu and Golfe de Saint-Tropez.

In order to strengthen its policy to protect the environment and the appeal of the region, in Nice, the group also contributed €12.6 million to the project to extend the tramway.

As a result, since mid-December, it has been possible to access Nice Côte d’Azur Airport by this new means of electric transport, which is expected to carry 15,000 people, travellers, companions and employees every day.

“This new connection with the city symbolically closed a year that saw the development of our network and the fruits of our various actions in favour of the environment,” concluds Thillaud.

“Tomorrow, Nice Côte d’Azur will be at the heart of an intermodal rail, road and air system, and will further develop its capacity to become a preferred stop-over for passengers looking for an alternative to the traditional hub in Paris.”


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