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Airports

French government cancels Grand Ouest project

18 January 2018
Protestors against the new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, pictured on 17 January 2018 after the French government announced it was scrapping the project. Source: Getty

The French government is scrapping controversial plans to build a new airport to serve Nantes in western France, after strong (and occasionally violent) opposition from local activists and environmentalists.

The government began to consider a new airport for Brittany in the 1970s, with the potential to host trans-Atlantic Concorde flights – but the announcement by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on 17 January appears to have killed the Grand Ouest Airport project.

In 2000, the government announced plans to build a greenfield replacement for Nantes Atlantique Airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, 20 km north of the city and 35 km south of Rennes.

Formal approval followed in 2008. A 55-year management and development concession was awarded to the VINCI Airports-led Aéroports du Grand Ouest consortium, which also includes the Nantes Chamber of Commerce and Industry and industrial development group ETPO-CIFE.

Having pulled the plug on Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the government must now consider paying compensation to VINCI Airports. This could reach EUR350 million (USD428 million).

The original plans, for two runways and a terminal on 1,450 ha of farmland at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, were scaled down to a single runway and 900 ha. The terminal would have had capacity for up to nine million passengers per year. Surface access to Notre-Dame-des-Landes would have included a dual-carriageway road and a rail link.

Preliminary work on the site began in 2012 but barely any progress has been made because of the strength of opposition – local residents, farmers, and environmentalists confronted police on a regular basis, and protests sometimes turned violent.

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RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • POITIERS BIARD

    PIS/LFBI AIRFIELD REF PT.: N46 35.15 E000 18.24 ELEVATION : 423' 129m CFR : 5 MAX RWY LENGTH : 7,710' 2,350 m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 03/21, 7,710' 2,350 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 44 F/C/W/T. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : Rwy 03R/21L, 2,297' 700 m, width 148' 60 m, grass, Rwy 03L/21R,

  • HORTA

    HOR/LPHR AIRFIELD REF PT.: N38 31.19 W028 42.95 ELEVATION : 118' 36m CFR : 6 MAX RWY LENGTH : 5,233' 1,595m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 10/28, 5,233' 1,595 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : None. RUNWAY LIGHTING : Rwy 10: LIRL, REIL, ALSF-2, PAPI.Rwy 28: LIRL, REIL, ALSF-2,

  • PICO

    PIX/LPPI AIRFIELD REF PT.: N38 33.16 W028 26.29 ELEVATION : 109' 33m CFR : 0 MAX RWY LENGTH : 5,725' 1,745m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 09/27 Twy, 5,725' 1,745 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 80 F/B/W/T. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : None. RUNWAY LIGHTING : Rwy 09: LIRL, PAPI.Rwy 27: LIRL, ALSF-2,

  • SANTA MARIA

    SMA/LPAZ AIRFIELD REF PT.: N36 58.28 W025 10.24 ELEVATION : 308' 94m CFR : 7 MAX RWY LENGTH : 10,000' 3,048m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 18/36, 10,000' 3,048 m, width 197' 60 m, concrete. ADDITIONAL RUNWAYS : Rwy 15/33, 6,004' 1,830 m; Rwy 04/22, 4,345' 1,324 m; both asphalt; both closed.

  • DEL BAJIO INTL

    BJX/MMLO AIRFIELD REF PT.: N20 59.36 W101 28.51 CFR : 0 MAX RWY LENGTH : 11,480' 3,499 m General Information SURFACE : Rwy 13/31, 11,480' 3,499 m, width 148' 45 m, asphalt, PCN 74 F/C/X/T. AIRFIELD OPERATOR : Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, Km 5.5 Carretera Silao-Leon 0, Col. New Mexico Silao,

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