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NEWS Last modified on December 15, 2014

Ground broken on Lyon-Saint Exupéry development project

Ground was broken and the wine was flowing at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport on Friday as the first stone was laid for the future Terminal 1 project that once complete will transform the gateway and provide an improved passenger experience and boost traffic.

Chairman of the board of Lyon Airports, Philippe Bernand, was joined by Alain Loyer, CEO of GFC Construction, who are building the new terminal, Graham Stirk, head architect and partner of Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners (RSHP), designer of the expansion, and Lyon regional political leaders.

Once the project is finished it will cover a surface area of 70,000sqm, double the area of the current terminals, and enable the airport to welcome 15mppa by 2020, up from the 10mmpa capacity now.

The airport handled around 8.5 million passengers in 2013, but is aiming to boost traffic numbers and commercial revenue, while improving services and facilities for travellers, airlines, and airport employees.

Chairman, Philippe Bernand, explains: “We want to build Lyon-Saint Exupéry to be the 2nd gateway in France, and for it to be the main departure point for the whole of the south-east of France.”

He says the development project focuses on four key objectives: quality of service, increasing competitiveness through operational efficiency, developing non-aeronautical revenue and increasing the capacity to the airlines, which are developing at Lyon-Saint Exupéry.


Improving non-aeronautical revenue is a major part of the project, he explains, and it currently totals 45% of airport revenues, but Bernand explains he hopes to increase this to 50% by 2019.

“We can increase the revenues by improving and developing the offering to passengers, and also to increase the footfall at certain locations to drive more commercial revenue,” he explains.

As for route development, Bernand, continues: “We see the low-cost business in Europe developing here and being our main traffic, but also want to develop long-haul routes, which is the challenge.

“There is potential to have routes to the US and more to Canada, along with China, maybe to Shanghai or Beijing, and more to the Middle East, to add to the Dubai five flights each week we have with Emirates, which have been successful.”


The new terminal will give the airport a new dimension and itself have a total capacity of 10mppa, and welcome the growing low-cost air traffic, in addition to traffic from legacy carriers.

An extension to the existing Terminal 1, it will eventually be connected, via an underground gallery, to the current Terminal 3 boarding satellite featuring a metal-fabric section, that will be demolished in the summer of 2016.

The outside areas on the city side will incorporate a pedestrian esplanade, and infrastructures required for all ground access points.

A total investment for the project including the terminal building, the exterior, aircraft parking and facilities, is €180 million, of which €140 million will be spent on building work.


The new terminal will feature eight on-stand stations for widebody aircraft, four additional medium-haul stations at the satellite, 90 check-in desks, 19 security check line in addition to the centralised security checkpoint, 16 air-bridges, 11 baggage carousels, and one automatic baggage sorting system.

Retail and F&B will be at the heart of the design with a waiting and shopping zone larger than a football pitch, a cross-through duty free shop, numerous store, restaurants around a food court, bars, a central zone and landscaped plaza including a garden, and private airline lounges.

Graham Stirk, of RSHP, says the aims of the terminal design were to be ”simple, elegant and compact” with clear direct flows, and to complement the existing airport design.

“The current building itself is a fine building, with strong DNA, very efficient, with architectural vocabulary running through the airport already, and it is a fine building,” he adds.


The terminal will feature independent departures and arrivals areas, Stirk explains, and a “simple passenger journey”, giving travellers control of their time, while the design build will be flexible to allow changes so new innovations and technologies and react to aviation market changes.

Construction will be split into three phases – Phase A will consist of building the new terminal, and be completed in the summer of 2016 giving Terminal 1 and the satellite a capacity of 8mppa.

Phase B from autumn 2016, will involve connecting it to the existing Terminal 1, and be finished by 2018, taking capacity to 9mppa, and Phase C will be completed in 2020, to 10mppa.

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