The number of lawsuits against airlines for non-compliance with environmental rules at French airports has increased by no less than 222% in 2022, as a result of a poorly controlled recovery, said Friday the authority controlling these nuisances. In the midst of a post-Covid recovery, there has been an inability "of companies to keep their promises of offer," explained Gilles Leblanc, president of the Airport Nuisance Control Authority (Acnusa), which submitted its annual report to the government on Thursday. Low-cost airlines have been prosecuted much more on average by the administration before Acnusa, which can impose fines of up to 40,000 euros per infringement, and is particularly interested in noise pollution, including curfew violations. The Spanish low-cost airline Volotea holds the palm for the number of prosecutions per 10,000 aircraft movements (48.9), ahead of the British easyJet (35.7) and the Hungarian WizzAir (28.2).
A "disorganization of the sector"
For Gilles Leblanc, this "worrying relaxation" is linked to the "disorganization of the sector" after the pandemic, but also the consequence of overly ambitious flight programs of these carriers, whose model requires up to eight rotations per aircraft per day. "On days when everything is going well and there are no delays anywhere, it can work, but the reality of air travel is that there are a lot of imponderables," he said. The last flight of the day may thus find itself not respecting a curfew. The document shows that 935 prosecutions were filed last year compared to only 290 in 2021. In 2022, 241 concerned the largest French airport, Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG), just ahead of two regional facilities, Nantes-Atlantique (231) - a Volotea base - and Basel-Mulhouse (202).
Today, the populations consider that the situation (of airport nuisances) is worse than before the health crisis", whatever the reality, warned Gilles Leblanc: "we have a climate of tension quite strong on some airports". The independent authority has also sounded the alarm about the increasing use of helicopters, particularly on the Côte d'Azur but also around tourist areas such as Mont-Saint-Michel. And 10 days before the opening of the Paris Air Show where future electric "flying taxis" with vertical take-off will be exhibited, Gilles Leblanc invited the authorities to think about their regulation: "we are not convinced that the social acceptability of this mode of transport will be total".