EBACE Convention News

Growing Le Bourget puts on a fresh face

 - May 11, 2007, 11:09 AM

Paris Le Bourget Airport (Booth No. 211) is on schedule with a major redevelopment program aimed at protecting its status as Europe’s busiest business aviation airport. And with traffic continuing to grow in impressive double-digit figures, it would appear this is well timed.

The new terminal building is already fully occupied and an adjourning large building with hangar and office space is planned to be ready for occupation next year. “There have been no drawbacks, we have not needed to revise any of our plans and we are already seeing significant increases in movements and passengers,” Le Bourget’s chief executive Michel de Ronne told EBACE Convention News.

At the end of last year, Le Bourget’s owner, Aéroports de Paris (ADP), reported a year-on-year 15.32-percent increase to 6,760 movements in September 2006, a 10.67-percent rise to 6,183 movements in October and a 9.11-percent hike to 5,115 movements in November. According to de Ronne, the year ended with an overall total of 64,000 movements, compared to an almost static 57,000 movements recorded annually over the last few years.

At the same time, passenger levels last year rose by 10 percent to a total of more than 140,000. De Ronne confirmed that these upward monthly trends continued into the first quarter of this year.

The airport’s new terminal opened last May following a €4 million ($5.3 million) make-over of a former maintenance facility located in a prime position between Paris’ Air and Space Museum and the airport’s main entrance. The new facility provides total space of 34,048 sq ft on four levels, plus a 4,305-sq-ft, teak-lined roof gallery giving a full view of the ramp and runway.

Belgium-based business aviation services company Flying Group became the first tenant to occupy the site under a 10-year concession from ADP for half of the building. Flying Group is also completely rebuilding the former Euralair building. Incorporating new hangars and office space, it is planned to be ready for service at the end of this year.

The other half of the terminal is soon to be occupied by the handling department of Aero Services Executive, which is expanding from its large neighboring premises. Aero Services has a dedicated entrance to the new building; there is a third door to be used by other companies, including Cessna and Satcom I, the aircraft onboard satellite communications systems company. Just 2,150 sq ft of the terminal remains available for leasing.

On the lower ground floor, ADP has installed a fully equipped VIP meeting room with modern communications systems. On the groundside of the terminal, a parking lot offers space for 60 vehicles.

De Ronne confirmed that the next stage in the Le Bourget upgrade is refurbishing the hangar in the main part of the airport complex occupied by Air France Industries until September 2006. He said following a refurbishment due to be completed in May 2008, the premises, comprising 97,000 sq ft of hangar space and 43,000 sq ft of office accommodation, will continue to be used for these purposes by a client he declined to identify. Other buildings are available for redevelopment, although plans to advance these options are not likely to be confirmed until after this summer.

Meanwhile, access to Le Bourget on the north of the airport is to be made easier with the creation of a new entrance near the Kyriad Prestige Hotel. At the initiative of Le Bourget city authorities, a group comprised of ADP, the museum and several other local city and district councils, has been established to exert their influence to ease growing traffic problems and extend Line 7 of the Paris metro to the airport.

Finally, Eurocopter is to establish a third test site for its NH 90 military rotorcraft on the west side of the airport. Work is due to begin in July and the facility is expected to be on-line at the end of the year.

Universal Recovers after Fire

Work to repair the damage caused by a fire at Universal Aviation’s Le Bourget FBO on the night of January 3 was completed at the beginning of last month. Sandrine Jackson, Universal’s managing director at Le Bourget, said the blaze originated in the FBO’s computer network electrical system.

The FBO immediately established alternative arrangements for crews and passengers, and customs and immigration formalities were carried out on board aircraft. As a consequence of the fire, Universal’s Le Bourget staff has undergone safety training, the first of the group’s European operations to do so.

In other company news, Jackson said Universal’s traffic has increased in the last 12 months, thanks in part to the improved facilities throughout the airport  and the opening last year of Universal’s new terminal. She added that a further modernization to the FBO is expected to be completed by next month.