Paris Toussus business airport under threat       

 - June 26, 2011, 4:40 AM

Users of Paris Toussus-le-Noble Airport should accept severe restrictions if they do not want to see local elected officials close their airport, according to a representative from the local civil aviation administration.

Among the stipulations Patrick Cipriani, director of civil aviation in the Northern France region, urged users to accept is a curfew that would close the airport for certain periods at weekends between April 1 and September 30. In addition, jets would have to meet Chapter 3 standards, a restriction that would affect vintage aircraft rather than business aviation, which already complies.

Shortly after the proposal emerged, the French helicopter lobby association (UFH) set up a petition challenging the suggested measures.

Helicopter operations will probably be targeted for more severe restrictions but Cipriani, who appears to defend Toussus, said that further study will precede any rotorcraft proposal. In addition to flying schools and sightseeing flight operators, the airport is the maintenance base for Heli-Union, a major player in France that works on civil and military helicopters in Toussus.

The airport is limited as to the size of business jets it can accommodate. According to a source familiar with traffic there, the biggest jet the airport can handle is a Citation Excel. Business jets do not constitute much of the traffic at Toussus, with only a handful of them using the runway each week, the source added. Those users, however, find the location highly convenient and the connection between a jet and a helicopter flight is said to be easy.

Noise from the airport has made it a target of local residents. Mayors of surrounding cities have long allowed real estate and industrial projects settling near the facility, and (in a familiar assertion) new residents contend that the fact the airport was there first is no reason for it to remain a source of noise. As a result, local mayors (but not Toussus’ mayor) favor closure of the airport. Airport defendants assert that closing the airport will see yet more concrete replacing grass.