Lyon-Saint Exupéry is celebrating the imminent opening of a new route to Dubai after Emirates was awarded traffic rights to fly to France's third largest airport.
From 5 December, it will operate five weekly flights between the cities using Airbus A340-500s.
Stéphane Geffroy, the airport's director of marketing, is pleased to be able to offer Lyon's passengers access to the vast Emirates network through Dubai, to long-haul destinations in Africa, Asia and Australasia. In return, Geffroy says Emirates can now offer its customers access to the French Alps, which contains the world's largest ski area.
He says the route was the result of a long discussion between the airport and the airlines as well as between the French and UAE authorities. With Emirates having been granted rights to serve the city, Geffroy says this does not necessarily mean the imminent arrival of other Gulf carriers. "In the short term, we would rather see Emirates succeed than another Middle Eastern carrier come in," he says.
Geffroy adds that he is hoping for further short-haul operations into the airport's new Terminal 3, which is dedicated to low-cost carriers. Opened in 2011, the terminal is part of a grander project at Lyon that is due to be completed in 2016. The project will see both Terminals 1 and 3 expanded and will raise Terminal 3's capacity to around 5 million passengers a year.