Charles de Gaulle Airport
|Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
|IATA: CDG – ICAO: LFPG|
|Owner/Operator||Aéroports de Paris|
|Location||25 km (16 mi) NE of Paris|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||119 m / 392 ft|
Location of Île-de-France region in France
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (French: Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, IATA: CDG, ICAO: LFPG), also known as Roissy Airport (or just Roissy in French), is one of the world's principal aviation centres, as well as France's largest international airport. It is named after Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), leader of the Free French Forces and founder of the French Fifth Republic, as well as the President of France from 1959 to 1969. The airport is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris. The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France as well as a European hub for Delta Air Lines.
In 2013, the airport handled 62,052,917 passengers and 497,763 aircraft movements, making it the world's eighth-busiest airport and Europe's second-busiest airport (after London Heathrow) in passengers served. It also is the world's tenth-busiest and it is Europe's second-busiest airport (after London Heathrow) in aircraft movements. In cargo traffic, the airport is the eighth-busiest in the world and the busiest in Europe, having handled 2,150,950 metric tonnes of cargo in 2012. On 1 March 2011, Franck Goldnadel was appointed as the director of the airport.
- 1 Location
- 2 History
- 3 Terminals
- 4 Roissypôle
- 5 Airlines and destinations
- 6 Ground transportation
- 7 Alternative airports
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 Theft
- 10 Mehran Karimi Nasseri
- 11 Photography restrictions
- 12 Animals
- 13 Statistics
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport covers 32.38 square kilometres (12.50 sq mi) of land. The choice of this vast area was made based on the limited number of potential relocations and expropriations and the possibility to further expand the airport in the future. It straddles three départements and six communes:
- Seine-et-Marne département: communes of Le Mesnil-Amelot (Terminals 2E, 2F ), Mauregard (Terminals 1, 3), Mitry-Mory
- Seine-Saint-Denis département: commune of Tremblay-en-France (Terminals 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, and Roissypôle)
- Val-d'Oise département: communes of Roissy-en-France and Épiais-lès-Louvres
The planning and construction phase of what was known then as Aéroport de Paris Nord (Paris North Airport) began in 1966. On 8 March 1974 the airport, renamed Charles de Gaulle Airport, opened. Terminal 1 was built in an avant-garde design of a ten-floors-high circular building surrounded by seven satellite buildings, each with six gates. The main architect was Paul Andreu, who was also in charge of the extensions during the following decades.
Until 2005, every PA announcement made at Terminal 1 was preceded by a distinctive chime, nicknamed "Indicatif Roissy" and composed by Bernard Parmegiani in 1971. The chime can be heard in the Roman Polanski film Frantic. Although the chime was officially replaced by the "Indicatif ADP" chime in late 2005 there recently have been unconfirmed reports that Indicatif Roissy has occasionally returned.
The Airport has three terminals. Terminal 1 is the oldest. Terminal 2 was originally built exclusively for Air France, since then it has been expanded significantly and now also hosts other airlines. The third terminal (T3, formerly T9) hosts charter and low-cost airlines. The CDGVAL is a light-rail shuttle that links the terminals, railway station and parking lots. Started on 4 April 2007, the CDGVAL links all three terminals (except hall 2G). There is only a single station for Terminal 2, near the rail station, so the walk distance to the more distant halls 2A–2B is more than 500 m (1,600 ft) (and both CDGVAL and bus are needed to reach 2G from Terminal 1).
The first terminal, designed by Paul Andreu, was built in the image of an octopus. It consists of a circular central part housing central functions like check-in and baggage claim. Seven satellites which are connected to the central building by underground walkways contain the gates.
The central building, with a vast skylight in its centre, sees each floor dedicated to a single function. The first floor is reserved for technical functions and is not accessible to the public. The second floor contains shops and restaurants, the CDGVAL shuttle platforms and a part of the counters from a recent renovation. The majority of check-in counters are located on the third floor, which also has access to travel by taxi, bus and special vehicles. Departing travellers can reach the fourth floor, which contains duty-free stores and border control posts, and connects, by tunnels passing under the tarmac, to satellite terminals where the boarding gates are located. Travellers arriving in these same satellites follow a path to reach the fifth floor where baggage claim and customs are located, as well as the arrival area and exit areas. The four upper floors are reserved for parking or use of administration and the airlines.
The passage between the third, fourth and fifth floors is done through a tangle of escalators arranged in the centre of the building. These escalators are suspended over the central court. Each escalator is covered with a transparent tube for cover from the weather. These escalators were often used in films (for example, in The Last Gang of Ariel Zeitoun). The Alan Parsons Project album I Robot features these escalators on its cover.
Andreu initially had envisaged building several terminals on this model. Nevertheless, the first years of operation identified several defects due to the original design of the building. While adequate for journeys originating or ending in Paris, the terminal is not very suitable as a hub since it cannot be expanded. Many passengers have been disappointed to have no view of planes from the main terminal, in contrast to the situation at the airport of Orly. It thus paved the way for a more traditional design for future terminals at CDG.
This consists of seven terminals: 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, and, at a distance of 800 m (0.5 mi), 2G. The first six are joined by ground-level or below-ground passageways. K, L and M are not terminals but halls of terminal 2E. Terminal 2G is only reachable by a bus service from the other terminals. Terminal 2 has an RER and TGV station, Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV, below the common area linking halls 2C–2F.
Terminal 2F was used for the filming of the music video for the U2 song "Beautiful Day". The band also had their picture taken inside Terminal 2F for the album artwork of their 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
Collapse of Terminal 2E
Terminal 2E, with a daring design and wide open spaces, was CDG's newest addition. On 23 May 2004, not long after its inauguration, a portion of Terminal 2E's ceiling collapsed early in the day, near Gate E50, killing four people. Two of the dead were reported to be Chinese citizens and another a Czech. Three other people were injured in the collapse. Terminal 2E had been inaugurated in 2003 after some delays in construction and was designed by Paul Andreu. Administrative and judicial enquiries were started. Andreu also designed Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, which collapsed while under construction on 28 September 2004.
Before this accident, ADP had been planning for an initial public offering in 2005 with the new terminal as a major attraction for investors. The partial collapse and indefinite closing of the terminal just before the beginning of summer seriously hurt the airport's business plan.
In February 2005, the results from the administrative inquiry were published. The experts pointed out that there was no single fault, but rather a number of causes for the collapse, in a design that had little margin for safety. The inquiry found the concrete vaulted roof was not resilient enough and had been pierced by metallic pillars and some openings weakened the structure. Sources close to the inquiry also disclosed that the whole building chain had worked as close to the limits as possible, so as to reduce costs. Paul Andreu denounced the building companies for having not correctly prepared the reinforced concrete.
On 17 March 2005, ADP decided to tear down and rebuild the whole part of Terminal 2E (the "jetty") of which a section had collapsed, at a cost of approximately €100 million. The reconstruction replaced the innovative concrete tube style of the jetty with a more traditional steel and glass structure. During reconstruction, two temporary departure lounges were constructed in the vicinity of the terminal that replicated the capacity of 2E before the collapse. The terminal reopened completely on 30 March 2008.
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Terminal 2G, dedicated to regional Air France flights and its affiliates, opened in 2008. This terminal is to the east of all terminals and can only be reached by shuttle bus. Terminal 2G is used for passengers flying in the Schengen Area (and thus has no passport control) and handles Air France regional and European traffic and provides small-capacity planes (up to 150 passengers) with a faster turnaround time than is currently possible by enabling them to park close to the new terminal building and boarding passengers primarily by bus, or walking. Its bus connection is outside the security area and a security check is needed also for transfer passengers.
Hall L (Satellite 3)
The completion of 750 m (2,460 ft) long Satellite 3 (or S3) to the immediate east of Terminals 2E and 2F provides further jetways for large-capacity airliners, specifically the Airbus A380. Check-in and baggage handling are provided by the existing infrastructure in Terminals 2E and 2F. Satellite 3 was opened in part on 27 June 2007 and fully operational in September 2007. It corresponds now to gates L of terminal 2E.
Hall M (Satellite 4)
The satellite S4, adjacent to the S3 and part of terminal 2E, officially opened on 28 June 2012. It corresponds now to gates M of terminal 2E. Dedicated to long-haul flights, it has the ability to handle 16 aircraft at the same time, with an expected capacity of 7.8 million passengers per year. Its opening has led to the relocation of all Skyteam airlines to terminals 2E (for international carriers), 2F (for Schengen European carriers), and 2G.
Air France has moved all of its operations previously located at 2C to 2E. In October 2012, 2F closed its international operations and became completely Schengen, allowing for all Air France flights currently operating in 2D to relocate to terminal 2F. Further, in April 2013, Terminal 2B closed for a complete renovation (all airlines relocated to 2D), and will receive upgrades including the addition of a second floor completely dedicated to arrivals. Once 2B is completed, 2D will close and receive similar upgrades, including the addition of a new floor. Low-cost carrier EasyJet has shown its interest in being the sole carrier at 2B. To facilitate connections, a new boarding area between 2A and 2C was opened in March 2012. It allows for all security and passport control to be handled in a single area, allows for many new shopping opportunities as well as new airline lounges, and eases transfer restrictions between 2A and 2C.
Terminal 3 consists of separate buildings for both arrivals and departures. It is located 1 km (0.62 mi) from Terminal 1, but the walking path is 3 km (1.9 mi) long. The RER and CDGVAL trains are at a distance of 300 m (980 ft) on foot. This terminal building has no direct boarding gates, all passengers are ferried via buses to the aircraft stands.
Roissypôle is a complex consisting of office buildings, shopping areas, and hotels within Charles de Gaulle Airport. The complex includes the head office of Air France, Continental Square, the Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, and le Dôme building. Le Dôme includes the head office of Air France Consulting, an Air France subsidiary. Continental Square has the head office of XL Airways France, the head office of Air France subsidiary Servair and the Air France Vaccinations Centre.
Airlines and destinations
A free automatic shuttle rail service at Charles de Gaulle Airport consisting in two lines CDGVAL and LISA based on the VAL system links the three airport terminals, RER and TGV stations and main car parks within 8 minutes.
- 4 trains per hour to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse calling at all stations to Cité Universitaire, then Bourg-la-Reine, La Croix de Berny, Antony, Massy–Palaiseau and then all stations to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse; and
- 4 trains per hour to Massy–Palaiseau (on the Saint-Rémy line), express until Gare du Nord and then all stations to Massy–Palaiseau.
The fast services take about 30 minutes to the Gare du Nord, the stopping services about 35. There are two RER B stations inside the airport:
- one, called Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1, is located inside Roissypôle (an area with hotels and company offices) next to Terminal 3 and is the preferred way to access Terminals 1 and 3;
- the other, called Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV, is located beside the TGV station under Terminal 2.
RER B serves both CDG airport (with a travelling clientele) as well as northern suburbs of Paris. The line, operated by SNCF, suffers from slowness and overcrowding. For these reasons, French authorities started two projects: one, CDG Express, is supposed to link CDG to Paris Gare de l'Est from 2016 with trains specifically designed for air travellers but seems to be delayed; the other, RER B Nord Plus, will modernise and streamline the northern branches of RER B.
Terminal 2 includes a TGV station on the LGV Interconnexion Est high-speed line. SNCF operates direct TGV services to several French stations from CDG, including Lille, Strasbourg, Dijon, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Poitiers, Rennes, Toulon, as well as services to Brussels in Belgium.
easyBus offers a direct, non-stop service to Paris centre, stopping at Le Palais Royal / Louvre area. Roissybus, operated by the RATP, departs from terminals 1 and 2 and goes non-stop to Paris, terminating behind the Palais Garnier.
There is a bus and coach station in Roissypôle, next to the RER B station. Buses departing from this station include RATP lines 350 and 351 going to Paris and the bus going to the Parc Astérix.
A Bus VEA Disneyland shuttle departs from the three Terminals.
After the last RER B of 23:50, the Noctilien night bus N143 and N140 departs every half-hour and hour respectively from terminal 1 door D12, terminal 2F door 2 and Roissypôle at Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1.
- London – Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – Lyon
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – Lyon
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – Lille
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – Brussels
Charles de Gaulle Airport is directly connected to Autoroute A1 which connects Paris and Lille.
The two other airports serving Paris are Orly Airport (the most important after CDG) and Le Bourget Airport (for general aviation and private jets). Some low-cost airlines also advertise Beauvais–Tillé Airport and Châlons Vatry Airport, respectively 85 km and 165 km from Paris proper, as serving Paris, using the names Paris–Beauvais and Paris–Vatry to designate them.
Incidents and accidents
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- On 6 January 1993, Lufthansa Flight 5634 from Bremen to Paris, which was carried out under the Lufthansa CityLine brand using a Contact Air Dash 8–300 (registered D-BEAT), hit the ground 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) short of the runway of Charles de Gaulle Airport, resulting in the death of four out of the 23 passengers on board. The four crew members survived. The accident occurred after the pilot had to abort the final approach to the airport because the runway had been closed: the aircraft immediately ahead, a Korean Air Boeing 747, had suffered a blown tire upon landing.
- On 25 May 2000, a freight-carrying Short SH36 (operated as Streamline flight 200), departing to Luton, England, collided on the runway with departing Air Liberte flight 8807, an MD-83 jet. The first officer of the SH36 was killed when the wing tip of the MD-83 tore through his side of the flight deck. The captain was slightly injured and all others aboard survived.
- On 25 July 2000, a Concorde, Air France Flight 4590 from Charles de Gaulle to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, crashed into Les Relais Bleus Hotel in Gonesse, killing everyone on the aircraft and four people on the ground. Investigations concluded that a tire burst on take-off due to metal left on the runway from a previously departing aircraft, leading to a ruptured fuel tank and resulting in engine failure and other damage. Concorde was conducting a charter flight for a German tour company.
- In December 2006, 20 baggage handlers were found guilty of theft.
- In 2007, 19 baggage handlers were found guilty of theft.
- In September 2008, 12 baggage handlers were arrested on suspicion of stealing goods from luggages worth 450,000 euros.
- In February 2011, 20 baggage handlers were arrested on suspicion of stealing from the luggage of passengers.
- In November 2012, 11 baggage handlers and 2 maintenance workers were arrested for stealing valuable items from luggage.
Mehran Karimi Nasseri
On 26 August 1988, Mehran Karimi Nasseri found himself held at Charles de Gaulle airport by immigration. He claimed he was a refugee, but had had his refugee papers stolen. After years of bureaucratic wrangling, it was concluded that Nasseri had entered the airport legally and could not be expelled from its walls, but since he had no papers, there was no country to deport him to, leaving him in residential limbo. Nasseri continued to live within the confines of the airport until 2006, even though French authorities had since made it possible for him to leave if he so wished. Nasseri was perhaps the inspiration for the 2004 film The Terminal. In July 2006 he was hospitalised and later taken care of by charities; he did not return to the airport.
On 7 November 2005, prefectoral decision 05-4979 was issued, relating specifically to Charles de Gaulle airport. The article 32-5 prohibits photographs being taken for private use of anything moving (e.g. aircraft) or not moving (e.g. buildings) within the "zone reservée" (the sterile area post-security) from the "zone publique" (the public area pre-security).
The grassy lands on which the airport is located are notorious for rabbits and hares, which can be seen by passengers at certain times of the day. The airport organises periodic hunts and captures to keep the population to manageable levels.
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Media related to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Aéroports de Paris (official website) (English)
- Aéroport de Paris Charles de Gaulle (Union des Aéroports Français) (French)
- Accident history for CDG at Aviation Safety Network
- Collapse of Terminal 2E
- Official report of the administrative enquiry commission (French)
- Photos of Terminal 2E before and after the collapse and during reconstruction