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Air France has formally inaugurated its new hub facility at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, that will eventually see all SkyTeam members operate under one roof.
Built in conjunction with Aeroports de Paris (ADP), the new boarding satellite in Terminals 2E and 2F was opened today (26 June) by new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy and at 750m long, will have capacity to handle 65 daily flights using 26 aircraft stands.
Clearly constructed with an eye on the new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow, where British Airways will group a large proportion of its services, the boarding satellite will be able to handle 8.5m extra passengers a year.
Air France will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft in 2009 and the satellite has been built with the ultra-large aircraft in mind. An automated train service known as Lisa, will link the satellite to Terminal 2E, while travelators connecting Terminal 2F will open between January and March, 2008.
Business travellers will be able to use the Espace Affaires lounge, capable of seating up to 700 passengers, while a large mall known as La Galerie Parisienne, will offer a range of shops, bars and restaurants.
”We will progressively move out of Terminals B, D and A in the next 18-20 months,” an Air France spokeswoman told ABTN from Paris, ”and 85% of our connecting passengers at Charles de Gaulle will be able to benefit from the new satellite.”
During the next few months, other features will be added to the new satellite, including improved gate-readers to speed up boarding, while from September, self-service transfer kiosks will allow customers who have changed their onward flight, to print out a new boarding pass.