ROUTES: Lyon expects new low-cost terminal to drive growth

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A refurbished and simplified third terminal catering for low-cost carriers will allow Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport to achieve considerable growth.

Underlining the increasing importance of low-cost airlines to its growth strategy, the French airport's marketing director Stéphane Geffroy said: "Low-cost airlines were only 3% of our business in 2007 and now they're more than 20%."

The initial stage of reconstruction will see Lyon's Terminal 3 ready for use from January 2012, with an increased capacity of 2.5 million a year, a rise of 1 million. Longer-term, the terminal's capacity can rise to 5 million passengers a year by 2015.

It will also feature a new pier and simplified services which Geffroy said will help reduce passenger fees considerably.

"As a simplified terminal, passenger service charges are 40% less than at other terminals," he said, adding that operational efficiencies ensured a turnaround time of 25 minutes.

The airport is also focused on developing ties with regions that do business with the Rhone-Alpes region of France that Lyon-Saint Exupéry serves, such as the USA.

"We are putting a lot of effort into rebuilding a direct link between Lyon and the east coast of the USA," said Geffroy, adding: "We are also looking very closely at China and India's markets".

He added that Lyon would also conduct talks with destinations such as Greece, Poland and Russia which do not currently have direct services to the city, but where Geffroy said there was great potential.