Julian Moxon/PARIS

Air France is to reap the benefits of the expansion potential at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with a new plan by Aéroports de Paris (ADP) to add two new satellites at its terminal 2 hub.

While described as "only a study" by ADP, Air France has revealed a design for the satellites similar to the Atlanta Airport hub of its strategic partner, Delta Air Lines. The carrier says the satellites will add to the "centre of gravity" of its operations at terminal 2, which are being transferred to the recently opened terminal F and will spread to terminal E, due to open in 2003. Terminals E and F are part of the Terminal 2 facility.

The two satellites are expected to be built in four sections, opening between 2004 and 2007.

The work will run alongside numerous developments under way, including a fourth runway - to be opened in March next year - which will increase the airport's handling capacity from 99 to 120 movements an hour. A new satellite for regional aircraft is to be built, along with an access road to terminal 2 from the east, an internal ring road connecting the entire airport and a non-stop railway connection from Paris Gare de L'Est.

Local residents, concerned about the airport's continuing expansion, are expected to object to the satellite plan . Air France insists that sound levels will be capped at 1997 rates.

The airline depends on the expansion of terminal 2 for the development of its alliance with Delta. The hub will handle 40 million passengers a year once terminal E is open. Neither Air France nor ADP will comment on the likely increase when the new satellites come on line, however. Air France says development of its Paris hub has increased connection possibilities by 500%, to 11,316 flights a week, since it began operations in mid-1995.

Source: Flight International