In 2023, the Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur kept all their promises

Published on 16-01-24

Over the past year, the Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur have met the region’s needs to connect to global destinations and fulfilled all their commitments.

With passenger traffic gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur have fully played their part in helping to open up the region while anticipating future needs and making solid achievements in reducing their environmental footprint.

Opening up the region

In 2023, the network of destinations served by Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, the region’s development and structural tool, returned to a level comparable with 2019, with 116 destinations in 44 countries. The number of long-haul routes has even increased, with 5 routes to North America and 6 to the Gulf States.

“Connecting directly the Côte d'Azur to major cities in the region, developing direct lines to international capitals, is the way to respond responsibly to the transport needs of Riviera residents and all those who come to visit us. This is the whole challenge of sustainable and necessary air transport”, explained Franck Goldnadel, Chair of the Executive Board of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.

Across all types of aircraft (commercial and business aviation and helicopter traffic), Nice airport handled nearly 14.2 million passengers compared with 14.5 million in 2019.

Over the year as a whole, Nice Côte d'Azur's two terminals handled 14.08 million commercial passengers, compared to 14.35 in 2019, representing a recovery rate of 98% and a load factor of 80.2%. These levels of passenger traffic were achieved with only 107,404 commercial aircraft movements, compared to 110,866 before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, general aviation traffic numbers fell compared to the previous year, as the specific needs of the pandemic period has receded. As a result, the number of movements at the airports in Nice, Cannes and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez is down by 7.3% compared with 2022, but still above 2019 levels.

Modernising a strategic facility

Work to upgrade Terminal 2 got underway last year, with a provisional two-phase delivery schedule. The new boarding pier will be operational in Summer 2025, when Nice will play host to the UN Ocean Conference. This will give our passengers further space to move around the terminal and get to their aeroplane. The "resources" module, which will include 36 new check-in desks and a baggage handling system, will come into service a year later in time for the 2026 high season. These improvements, made necessary by the growth in passenger traffic, will raise the airport’s annual theoretical passenger handling capacity from 14 to 18 million, and thus meet the need to “develop the airport in a way to be compatible with aviation’s current and future needs.

"With passenger traffic returning to 2019's levels, last summer’s seasonal traffic peaks brought home to us the need to increase the size of our facilities. Fortunately, the agility and experience of our staff and partners enabled us to manage passenger volumes without reducing our service quality. But we cannot repeat this feat indefinitely” said Franck Goldnadel in summary.

Protecting the environment

Having committed to an ambitious policy to decarbonise its business in 2010, the company was the first in France to be awarded Level 4+ of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. In 2023, it continued its efforts to become carbon neutral without resorting to offsetting, before the end of the decade. Some of Nice Côte d'Azur's flagship initiatives include replacing gas-fired boilers with an innovative moderate-temperature water loop to save 700 tonnes of CO²-eq emissions. The new take-off paths, now used for a full year, have reduced aircraft emissions by 420 tonnes CO2-eq. At the same time, work has started on electrifying the ‘offshore’ aircraft stands, in other words, those who do not already benefit from a connection to a specific power supply for aircraft placed under the telescopic gangway. In time, when all the aircraft stands are connected, some 6,000 tonnes of Co2-eq emissions will also be eliminated.

As part of its unique tripartite partnership with the French National Forestry Service (Office National des Forêts) and the municipalities closest to its Nice and Cannes airports, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur achieved fewer emissions but is also helping in efforts to absorb more CO2, thus continuing its regional reforestation policy. 2,800 trees were planted this year in Roubion and Séranon, bringing the total number of trees planted since 2020 to 15,052 across 18.5 hectares.

The other aspect of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur’s sustainable development policy is environmental protection. As a result, the Gulf of St Tropez airport has been awarded the AéroBio certification label in recognition of its meticulous biodiversity conservation work on its land. Cannes-Mandelieu and Nice Côte d'Azur airports have also embarked on the same process and hope to obtain the certification soon.

Since protecting the environment also involves recycling waste, Nice Côte d'Azur has completely overhauled its policy in this area, by implementing 11 waste collection channels and an awareness-raising journey through the airport to encourage passengers to recycle their rubbish. This latest project, supported by ADEME and Citeo, has led to a true change in passenger behaviour. Now, as soon as they arrive at the airport, visitors to the Côte d'Azur will be encouraged to recycle their rubbish throughout their stay in the Metropolitan area.

Putting you on the map!

Convinced of their role, in 2023 Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur decided to assert their ambitions by transforming them into a slogan: “Putting you on the map!” This phrase is not only aimed at countries and regions that the Côte d'Azur airports serve but also their passengers, partners, staff, and the other airports that the company supports with their plans for modernisation, reducing emissions or expanding their networks, via its Nama brand.

As an extension to this goal, the first World Passenger Day on 17 November last year, invented and organised by Nice Côte d'Azur airport was a resounding success. All the hub's staff were mobilised to offer passengers an unforgettable experience, where gratitude was central to this festive event. This innovation will be replicated next year in many European airports, "Travel is a festival, flying is a dream. It is important to ensure that pleasure and gratitude return to passenger journeys. In addition to technological progress to decarbonise, we need to create the conditions for achieving joyful simplicity", said Franck Goldnadel in conclusion.