Halfway between Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Geneva Cointrin airports, Annecy Mont-Blanc airport is a little Thumb in the world of air transport. However, Vinci Airports insisted on obtaining the fifteen-year concession from the Haute-Savoie departmental council, replacing Edeis Concessions, which had initially appealed to the Council of State, before its request was rejected in June 2021.
It must be said that this airport does not play in the same category as its two neighbours. “Annecy airport is dedicated to business aviation only. There are no commercial flights”says Sabine Granger, director of French regional airports at Vinci Airports.
According to the Union of French airports, the infrastructure recorded 44,098 “non-commercial” movements in 2020, an increase of 3.8% compared to 2016.
The concession, which came into force at the beginning of January 2022, does not currently provide for any exception to this state of affairs: “Our project for this airport is to have a measured development of traffic, but we will support the attractiveness of business aviation”points Mrs. Granger.
An increase in the frequency of business and leisure flights, as well as the establishment of new lines will therefore be on the program, but not enough to relaunch at this stage the last commercial line Paris-Annecy, which had been stopped in 2013 by the Chalair company on the issue of two years of operating results at half mast.
But Vinci Airports and the Departmental Council of Haute-Savoie have already planned to invest 10 million euros over the next 15 years (at parity each), ie the duration of the concession granted to the French group. Objective: to improve the quality of service and in particular the flow of passengers, by carrying out a complete redevelopment of the terminal.
An improvement in quality which also aims to align Annecy airport with the offers of the other regional airports of Vinci Airports. With, on the program, the installation of photovoltaic panels as well as charging stations to supply electric vehicles.
The airport infrastructure should thus approach the standards in terms of reception offered by Chambéry airport, located 40 kilometers away, and which is also under concession with Vinci Airports.
During the winter season, the Savoyard airport ranks third in business aviation at the national level. Over the whole year, Chambéry airport also outclasses its neighbor in Haute-Savoie, with 5,200 movements against 3,000.
Don’t the two airports think of cannibalizing each other in the long term?
“Business aviation customers will want to arrive in Chambéry or Annecy, depending on their final destinationreplies Sabine Granger. On the contrary, it is a real strategic axis because it allows us to offer a global offer to our business aviation customers. If we have saturation at Annecy or Chambéry, we can immediately offer a solution at the other airport. »
Such complementarity already exists between Lyon, Grenoble and Chambéry, she specifies.
“It is interesting to have airports in the same network, because each airport has its own clientele and specific characteristics, which mean that there is no competition between them”explains for his part Tanguy Bertolus, the chairman of the management board of Lyon Aéroport.
“Full box” in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes
At a time when local elected officials are still questioning the relaunch of a commercial aviation line while others weigh the nuisances, particularly in terms of noise, Vinci Airports can boast of having a complete portfolio in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes:
Lyon Saint-Exupéry already offers more than a hundred destinations, and infrastructures that allow permanent traffic in all weather conditions, specifies Tanguy Bertolus. Grenoble is centered on the management of tour operators and charters which, connected to a bus network, supply the stations. While Chambéry and Annecy are also close to the winter sports resorts of each of their departments, for a more local mesh.
At Annecy airport, most of the development will therefore focus on the development of land potential, by attracting commercial projects. Welcoming a maintenance company, building a hangar, developing services in the terminal… could be part of the developments selected in the years to come.
Decisions which must also be made in consultation with the residents living near the airport, who have expressed their fears to see noise pollution and pollution increasing. With, among the fears relayed, those of the prevention of an increase in air freight, in connection with the Amazon logistics platform, built in the basin near Seynod, in 2020, and which had itself caused an outcry local residents.
While a Association against aerial dangers and nuisances at Annecy aerodrome (ACDNA) as well as a “Cresistance (and resilience) against the aerodrome and for the safety (and health) of the inhabitants of the Annecy conurbation” mounted in the environment close to the airport, on the spot, the airport’s supporters and detractors pass the buck.
The departmental councilor of Haute-Savoie, delegate for the economy and major projects, François Excoffier, for example, hopes that the arrival of Vinci will make it possible to respond to a strong demand”in a department where 10,000 new inhabitants come to settle each year. I hope that the new dealers will study the reestablishment of regular lines, in particular to Paris who can help our Haut-Savoyards”, he affirmed to our colleagues from France Bleu.
For his part, the vice-president of the Greater Annecy agglomeration, Denis Duperthuy, opposes a “vision of the past”. “I know a lot of business leaders who say that they never take the plane but rather the train, it has become part of their habits”. He feared in particular that an increase in freight traffic would result in an increase in nuisance for local residents. Even chosen for
Pierre-Louis Massein, the deputy mayor of the municipality of Meythet (nearly 8,300 inhabitants) where this airport is located, had meanwhile called for the opening of a prior consultation on the future of this airport, arguing that the infrastructure occupies nearly 100 hectares within a residential area which has experienced strong densification in recent years.
“We are in a position of dialogue and openness, in a dynamic of positive partnership to discuss openly and find solutions together”ensures for its part Sabine Granger.