2021 review and 2022 outlook for Bordeaux Airport

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There was an upturn in activity at Bordeaux Airport in 2021, with a 35% rise in passenger numbers compared to 2020. The health crisis had restricted travel, with a drop of around 60% in passenger numbers compared to 2019. It has also been a vector of change, triggering an acceleration in the airport company’s strategy, initiated in 2018. In 2022, the development of the airport is more than ever focused on environmental, health and social challenges. Bordeaux Airport is launching a new drive to transform its organisation and shift its activities towards a more responsible model at the service of the region. The aim is to shape the new face of the airport of the future and to reach Zero Carbon by 2030 for its direct CO2 emissions. 

The network boosts the connections of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region

Summer 2021 and the resumption of leisure travel clearly marked a milestone in the relaunch of Bordeaux Airport. Around 50% of the annual total of passengers travelled between June and September to or from one of the 71 destinations on offer at the peak of the season, with an unprecedented increase in flights to Corsica, Greece and the Balearic Islands.

Not surprisingly given the health restrictions, more than half of passengers were on domestic flights, and two-thirds of passengers from Bordeaux opted for a low-cost flight.

‘As we take stock of yet another very particular year for air travel, the airport teams and airline companies demonstrated their agility. Operational flexibility and the attractiveness of the region boosted the recovery of air travel by adapting to the various constraints of the pandemic’, says Simon Dreschel, CEO of Bordeaux Airport since August 2021.

The gradual return of national airlines such as Air France/KLM, Lufthansa/Swiss, Iberia, British Airways, or Royal Air Maroc is also an encouraging sign of the confidence airline companies have in the economic dynamism of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine market.

While 2022 has begun with a certain degree of uncertainty in terms of the health situation, initial signs are positive and point to an upturn in activity at Bordeaux Airport. 80 destinations will be on offer at Bordeaux Airport this summer, including the resumption of long-haul flights to Guadeloupe and Canada.

New routes have already been announced: Grenoble with easyJet for the winter holidays, and for the summer programme: Athens with Volotea, Malta and a brand-new route to Zadar, Croatia with Ryanair. Lastly, the resumption of Turkish Airlines flights to their hub at the new Istanbul airport is contributing actively to making Bordeaux more attractive internationally.

A greener, better airport at the service of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region

‘At present, the growth of the airport is more than ever focused on environmental, health and social challenges. Numerous projects successfully led in 2021 and to be intensified in 2022 testify to the drive for rapid progress in the control of environmental impacts and the evolution in comfort for both users and commercial partners of the airport’, Simon Dreschel confirms.

Just a few months after the installation of new ‘400Hertz’ converters which limit the use of fossil fuels for aircraft on the ground, the High Environmental Quality (HQE©) international pier was inaugurated in October.
The comfort of this new certified facility, with its vast and luminous lounge, forms a continuity with the pre-existing Hall A, where extensive renovation has been carried out. Latest-generation biometric identification gates have also been introduced, to ensure smoother and more rapid flows at security screening for both arrivals and departures.
Land-side, the covered car parks, the closest to the terminal buildings, underwent a makeover in late 2021, to provide more spacious parking, easier entry and exit via an automated licence plate recognition system, and charging terminals for electric vehicles.

In terms of service quality, Bordeaux Airport implemented Airport Service Quality (ASQ), thus joining more than 400 international airports on this programme by the Airport Council International aimed at evaluating and improving service quality for passengers. New services to assist travellers in the ongoing context of health restrictions were developed in 2021. Reception and information services were thus reinforced for each school holiday period, thanks to the presence of Airport Angels staff, who respond attentively to passengers’ needs in the airport from the first to the last flight. Two online services were also launched to facilitate life for passengers via the bordeaux.aeroport.fr website: a search engine developed by Generation Voyage with real-time updates on international travel conditions (border openings and closures, COVID test or vaccination requirements, etc.), and a chatbot available 24/7 to provide rapid information on numerous aspects of travel offers and requirements, including, for example, conditions for Covid testing. 2022 will see faster, smoother and more secure wi-fi access on the airport premises with the arrival in February of new optic fibre, which promises 8 times faster connectivity than at present, in addition to work to extend coverage of the terminal buildings.

The fleet of professional vehicles used on site, which are now hybrid or electric, will be added to by the arrival of an electric shuttle service between the P4 car park and the terminal buildings. With regard to controlling energy use and enhancing passenger comfort, a large-scale project is due to begin in the first quarter to replace all the glass facades (1,750m2) of Hall B with high-performance glazing, both land-side and air-side.

The airport also approved its development plan for renewable energy, and the second quarter will therefore see the installation of more than 1,500 solar panels, which will form a roof for the PO car park. The aim is to ensure a fully autonomous car park in terms of electricity needs, in addition to a surplus production which will be added to the airport’s High Voltage loop. Total production will reduce annual airport energy use by 4%. The airport plans to pursue this initial phase with further roll-outs to make use of the vast surfaces at its disposal.

Improvements to the accessibility of the airport in order to strengthen its links to the region are also making rapid progress, with the final phase of the building and planting works to the forecourt and its future multi-modal station, prior to the commissioning of tram line A and the definitive Technobus service in 2023.  At the same time, the cycle lane developed by Bordeaux Métropole will provide a secured path to the sheltered bicycle park and its charging terminals for electric bikes. Works were completed in late 2021.

Towards an airport which is ‘a place of life, a place in the city’, an attractive and sustainable site

The Supervisory Board of the Société Aéroportuaire recently approved the latest corporate social responsibility policy.

‘Our new CSR policy is aimed at integrating the airport into its region by supporting ecological transition. This translates as a service infrastructure which is seen less as an area of transit and more as a genuine, more vibrant, place of life, linked to the city, and offering green spaces’, Simon Dreschel explains.

The future green belt, shaped by tree-planting along the tram line, and the landscaped area of the ‘45ème Parallèle’ tertiary centre will open onto an airport landscape with many areas planted with trees and various greenery. These developments form an ongoing aspect of the investment programme engaged for biodiversity, which also included the creation of a beehive. The airport hive’s 400,000 bees produced their first honey in 2021.

Behind this ‘signature’ change around the terminal buildings, the sustainable development of the airport will include more active involvement in 2022 by the operators of the platform alongside the managing body, in pursuit of the aims established via the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme to reach carbon neutrality at the airport by 2030. In the framework of ISO 14001 environmental accreditation, efforts on the part of all operators in 2021 focused on airport waste, with the renewal of facilities and waste sorting directives for both professionals and passengers, the aim being to reach a recycling rate of 30% (compared to 17% for the reference year 2019).

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