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Why are French airports leaving passengers unsatisfied?

Yet another survey has revealed that passengers are less than impressed with French airports. But why exactly do they continue to disappoint year after year?

Why are French airports leaving passengers unsatisfied?
Passengers queuing at Orly Airport. Photo: AFP
The survey was conducted by AirHelp, a technology company that provides legal services to airline passengers and ranks airports according to quality of service, punctuality and passengers' experiences based on their reactions on Twitter.
 
Based on these categories, the highest ranking French airport at 85th place (out of 141) was Basel-Mulhouse Airport on the Swiss border which received an average score of 7.41 out of a possible 10 in terms of its punctuality and quality of service.
 
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Why is the food at French airports STILL so bad?Photo: Jeff Warren/Flickr

However even this top performing French airport had struggled to win over passengers… at least according to their reactions on social media for which it received a measly 4.65 out of 10.

Meanwhile, Toulouse airport was next on the list in 94th place followed by one of Paris's main airports Charles de Gaulle at 128th and Bordeaux at 133rd. 
 
The other large airport in the French capital, Orly, came a lowly 138th followed by Lyon (139th) which managed to beat just Standstead Airport in the UK (140th) and Kuwait International Airport which came bottom of the list. 
 
Topping the list were Hamad International Airport in Qatar, Athens International Airport in Greece and Haneda Airport in Japan. 
 
“It is true that the classification acts as a warning signal and shows that passengers are not satisfied,” Hayat Boufeldja who is in charge of France at AirHelp told Le Figaro.
 
But why are passengers so unhappy?
 
Boufeldja puts it down to the lack of information and the lack of support when a flight is cancelled — a feeling that is likely to have been aggravated during the many strikes by air traffic controllers and flight and ground crews at Air France that have taken place since the beginning of the year.
 
Unions have carried out a series of industrial action in order to secure the 5.1 percent wage increase they're after. 
 
But even though the strikes are likely to have something to do with the poor performance of French airports, this is far from the first time they've been shown up by international competitors. 
 
Air France strike: 'Asking for a raise from the top of the barricade is absurd'
Photo: AFP
 
In fact, in April 2017 The Local reported on a survey by consumer magazine UFC-Que Choisir that showed Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle ranked near the bottom of the pack for European airports. 
 
That survey revealed that the two international Paris airports ranked at 29th and 31st respectively out of 32 airports, gaining scores of 13.9 and 13.7 out of 20 possible marks.
 
Complaints from passengers in that survey included the poor quality of the bars and restaurants, the lack of comfort in the waiting areas, and the lack of seats and electrical plugs. 
 
On top of that in November 2017, The Local reported that a study had revealed Paris Beauvais as one of the worst ten airports in the world
 
Beauvais airport was ranked the ninth worst airport in the world in a survey by travel site “Sleeping at Airports” just ahead of Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan, Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal and Caracas Simón Bolívar International Airport, Venezuela.
 
Air France 
 
AirHelp also ranked 72 airlines around the world, with France's highest scoring airline coming in 20th thanks to budget airline Transavia, which is run by Air France.
 
The airline scored 7.88 out of 10 while Air France came in 34th with  a rating of 7.77.
 
“For these two French companies, we are seeing similar results to last year,” said Hayat Boufeldja. “The poor performance in terms of punctuality is probably related to recent strikes.”
 
By comparison, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Etihad topped the table, scoring 9.08, 8.57 and 8.43, respectively. 
 
Meanwhile, Icelandic airline WOW Air scored the lowest with a total of 5.04. 

Member comments

  1. I’e used CDG in Paris for two long haul flights with waiting up to 4 hours at the airport I’ve travelled many countries in the world and consider CDG the worst..no comfortable and lack of seating,food outlets,toilets,it really is the pits

  2. The worst thing about the CDG airport is the huge lines and very long waiting times to get through passport control. It’s common to have only a few officers with many of the counters empty while the lines are packed with travelers. One wonders why during peak hours the counters aren’t fully staffed. Is it incompetence or arrogance?

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RYANAIR

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid

Budget airline Ryanair urged on Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid
Could Air France be forced to give up airport slots if it accepts more aid from the French state? Photo: AFP

Paris is in talks with European Union officials on the delicate issue of state aid to the French flagship carrier, which has already received substantial help from the government.

“Should yet another enormous and illegal state aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor,” a Ryanair statement said.

The low-cost airline is based in Ireland and regularly underscores the amount of money being allocated to keep struggling rivals in the air.

In exchange for more aid, Air France must be prepared to give up “a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon,” Ryanair argued.

French officials and the European Commission are currently discussing the terms of a further recapitalisation of the Air France-KLM group, which has suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

EU officials have already indicated that in exchange for their approval, Air France should give up coveted slots at Paris' Orly airport, which is essentially saturated now.

Air France on the other hand has indicated that such a move posed a serious threat because it was counting on Orly operations to help it rebound from the crisis.

French officials want to avoid putting Air France, which was struggling even before the pandemic, at a competitive disadvantage.

Ryanair urged EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to “stand firm in her discussions with the French government.

“Either Air France gets no state aid or proper remedies should be put in place to ensure a fair and level playing field for all airlines,” it insisted.

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