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Sunday, December 3, 2023

New call for tenders planned for the Nantes-Atlantique Airport concession

At the invitation of Christelle Morançais, president of the Pays de la Loire region, the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune went this Thursday to the region’s hotel to participate, during the morning, in the Parliament of the territories , a body bringing together elected officials from the region and dedicated to mobility issues. The opportunity to sign the protocol relating to the mobility component of the State-Region of Pays de la Loire plan contract concluded for the period 2023-2027. The key: a financial commitment from the State to the tune of one billion euros for the next five years, with a view to financing in particular the future metropolitan RER of Nantes (it will benefit from support of 49 million euros of the State) and the launch of studies for similar projects in Angers and Le Mans. This contract will probably be the most important of all in terms of mobility, with more than 700 million investments planned.

Clément Baune also took advantage of his visit to discuss the hot topic of Nantes-Atlantique airport with local elected officials at the prefecture. The file therefore returned to the table after the State’s decision, a month and a half ago, to put an end to the call for tenders procedure for the re-concession of the airport and its modernization, which was launched in October 2019. To justify this decision, the minister then explained that the government had only received the offer from Vinci, current concessionaire of Nantes-Atlantique airport, and had therefore deplored a lack of competition.

Curfew: faster and stronger sanctions

“As I had committed to at the beginning of October, to announce the necessary relaunch of the call for tenders procedure for Nantes airport, I returned a month later to sign a State-Region plan contract for a historic and massive investment in public transport and rail and to ensure follow-up on the subject of the airport”introduced Clément Beaune during a press point, mentioning announcements “important” with a priority on the protection of populations.

Among them: the current curfew (between midnight and six a.m.). On this point, he announced stricter application with the rewriting of the decree by the end of the year to strengthen the speed of investigation times and the application of sanctions. “We will re-discuss possible adaptations later because there is currently no consensus to extend, for example, the timetables. » The minister recognizes that the fines applied are not at the maximum ceilings provided for and permitted by law. As such, he announces that he will seize ” tomorrow “ the competent authority for the writing and clarification of the order to thus sanction flagrant breaches.

If an airline does not respect the curfew, the plane will not be able to land in Nantes beyond the planned and authorized times. And we will speed up the investigation once the State services have been contacted. Today, the deadline is 35 days. I commit to it being less than a month from 2024.

Clément Beaune, Minister for Transport

The minister also formalized the abandonment of the extension of the runway (over a length of 400 meters south towards Saint-Aignan-de-Grandlieu), initially planned in the previous call for tenders to reduce noise pollution. populations located north of the infrastructure. A measure which had been rejected by local residents and deemed unnecessary given the new hypotheses for the evolution of air traffic. The moratorium on changing aircraft trajectories until 2027, promised last October, is maintained. The concession award procedure will be restarted “by the end of the year”without details on the calendar.

Better involve communities

In order to “learn lessons from what didn’t work well”, governance will also be put in place to involve communities. It is planned to meet every quarter an airport committee which will bring together elected officials, the economic world and local residents’ associations. “so that the monitoring of this subject is transparent and shared”. By the end of the year, it is also planned to appoint a ministerial delegate to “ensure the reinforced management of this airport project” And “to bring it to fruition as quickly as possible”.

Asked about projects to modernize the airport infrastructure, Clément Beaune indicates that the State has asked the current concessionaire (Vinci, editor’s note) to carry out emergency work (compliance with certain regulations (water law), reinforced noise measures, work on car parks, etc.).

Concerning soundproofing work for housing located in the areas of the Sound Inconvenience Plan (PGS), he announced a 25% increase in the soundproofing aid ceilings “so that the out-of-pocket costs are less important”.

“The health of local residents cannot be an adjustment variable”

Following these ministerial announcements, metropolitan elected officials were quick to react. The first of them, Sandra Impériale, mayor of Bouguenais, said she was satisfied to see the minister return to enforce the restriction on night flights, a measure which had been negotiated two years ago, she would like to point out. “It’s half fig, half grape. I remain extremely vigilant because I am always a little skeptical when a minister comes to just apply a law. Which should have already been done two years ago. » She also welcomed the increase in soundproofing aid for local residents.

Another reaction, that of the mayor (PS) of the city of Nantes Johanna Rolland. “It was a useful and constructive meeting ” After “thirty years of fiasco on this project”. The rewriting of the curfew decree, requested unanimously by all the city councilors, is particularly “important” while “the health of local residents cannot be an adjustment variable”.

The minister responded favorably to several requests made by the 24 mayors of the Metropolis, I salute him.

Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes

Jean-Claude Lemasson, the mayor of Saint-Aignan-de-Grand-Lieu, also said he was satisfied, particularly concerning the abandonment of the extension of the track. But if the minister seems “open to discussion “, on the other hand “administrative obstacles have not yet been lifted”alluding to the right of abandonment which allows owners to force the State to buy housing exposed to loud noise (62 decibels minimum) at a price which does not take into account the market depreciation caused by noise pollution. “We are asking to review the conditions of the decree which is not sufficiently efficient today. » Concerning the financial sanctions applied to airlines which do not respect the curfew, the elected official requests sanctions “stronger”. According to him, today they would amount to around 18,000 euros up to 25,000 euros for the most recent ones.

Michel Ménard, president of the Loire-Atlantique Department, who also participated in the meeting, also spoke: “After years of inaction, I would like to welcome and encourage the process of consultation with local authorities. Positive measures were announced in the State/Region plan contract, in particular on the development of intermodal transport with the creation of a railway stop in Bouguenais. Regarding the future of Nantes-Atlantique airport, the promise of short-term work to modernize a terminal that has been neglected for many years and which can no longer accommodate passengers in satisfactory conditions is also good news. »