Campaigners file legal challenge to halt Nice airport expansion plans

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Campaigners file legal challenge to halt Nice airport expansion plans
Nice Côte d'Azur airport. (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP)

A legal review could still halt extension plans at Nice airport, even though work is already under way, campaigners hope.


Environmental protesters have filed an appeal against the airport’s expansion plans to the Marseille administrative court and are awaiting a new hearing date after an earlier bid, in October 2022, was not heard by judges.

Two previous legal challenges, filed in Nice in February 2020, also failed.

But campaigners remain confident in their ability to stop the expansion of the airport - built next to an environmental protection area - in its tracks. 

“It's at their own risk,” said a spokesperson for Collectif citoyen 06, which is protesting against the plans. “We hope to win the appeal, otherwise we will continue at the Council of State and even at European level."

Work started on the extension of Terminal 2 at Nice Côte d'Azur airport in January, to create 25,211 square metres of additional space, including six boarding gates and a check-in area and baggage carousel in time for the summers of 2025 and 2026.

Officials have said the aim is to welcome “in better conditions” 18 million passengers annually, compared to about 12.1million in 2022, while an additional 2,000 flights over the current 110,000 a year are expected to fly into and out of the airport, according to Franck Goldnadel, chairman of the board of the French Riviera Airports.

He said passenger numbers increased by 30 percent in the years 2012 to 2019 despite a small drop in the number of flights handled at Nice. “Planes are getting bigger, better filled and cleaner," he said. 


Protesters, however, insist the expansion is intended to allow Nice to handle an additional 20,000 flights per year - using calculations from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which show that, since 2010, the number of passengers has increased by 51 percent, involving an exta 21,200 more flights per year.

During this period, carbon dioxide and pollutants have each increased by 30 percent, they claim.

The airport expansion is projected to be completed by 2026.


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