Paris airport traffic ‘down 98.6% in April’

Total passenger traffic at Paris airports fell by 98.6 percent in April from the same period a year earlier as the effects of the coronavirus outbreak began to be felt in full, its operator said on Friday.

Paris airport traffic 'down 98.6% in April'
A member of Charles de Gaulle airport personnel wears a protective face mask in the deserted passport control section of arrivals in Terminal 2 of Charles de Gaulle international airport, May 14 2020:

Airlines and operators say that the industry is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the restrictions on travel that may take years to recover from.

“In April 2020… Paris Aéroport traffic decreased by 98.6 percent with 0.1 million passengers welcomed,” Group ADP, which operates the city's main Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, said in a statement.

Orly has been temporarily closed since April 1 due to the decline in demand while at Paris Charles de Gaulle only terminals 2A, 2C, 2E and 2F have been kept open to operate commercial flights, it said.

Only between 5,000-7,000 passengers are currently passing through the airport every day, it said.

The French government has said people will be able to take summer holidays but is strongly discouraging international travel, especially outside Europe.

France this week lifted an almost two month lockdown imposed on March 17. But people still cannot travel more than 100 kilometres (60 miles)  without a compelling reason.

Air France-KLM is to benefit from seven billion euros in loans either from or backed by the state, along with an expected two to four billion euros in aid from the Dutch government.

Air France-KLM this month announced a first-quarter loss of 1.8 billion euros.

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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.