Protesters standing in field making the words 'Aeroport Non'On the drawing board since 1965, the new International airport to service North-West France, particularly the Pays de la Loire and Brittany regions, is set to open in 2015. Construction is due to start in 2012, and Aéroport du Grand Ouest (as the new airport will be called) will replace the existing Nantes-Atlantique airport immediately delivering an increase in flights and passenger numbers.

The current airport is located about 8km South-West of the City of Nantes, and is already the largest airport in Western France carrying around 3 million passengers each year. An annual growth rate of 5% in traffic volumes over North-West France have prompted the need for a new airport, with a new green field site being preferred so that the supporting infrastructure (road, rail networks etc.) can be properly planned and accommodated.

The new airport will be located in the commune of Notre Dame des Landes about 30km to the North-West of the city, and will initially have a capacity of 4 million passengers a year, increasing to 9 million passengers a year by 2050 once further development phases have been completed.

Panneau at entrance to Notre Dame des Landes, the site of the new Nantes airport in FranceI have only used the existing airport a couple of times. It is very small, but absolutely charming and easy to access. The problem with it is that there are just not enough flights to / from Nantes-Atlantique from the South / South-West of England (which is where we live – most of the time). Generally, it has meant a hack across country to Gatwick, which is far from ideal. The increased passenger numbers for the new airport must come from somewhere, so hopefully that will mean at least one new flight from an airport near me in the UK. As our French house is near La Roche Bernard the new airport will be more conveniently situated too!

I’m going to keep an eye on developments and post them here. In the meantime, how will this new airport affect you?

Are you happy because of the ‘hopefully’ improved transport links?

Are you worried about where those 9 million passengers will go once they arrive in France?

Do you have environmental concerns?

Let me have your thoughts by commenting below

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