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Close Nîmes & Béziers airports to enlarge Montpellier airport?


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I've heard that there's a plan for future huge expansion of Montpellier airport, bringing with it the promise of massive employment opportunities. The only stumbling block seems to be the closure of Nimes and Béziers airports.........

These two airports cost local people a lot, as Ryanair's demands from local councils are high, but I've always understood that tourists brought into the area by them both outweigh the costs by an enormous amount through jobs generated by their need for accommodation, restaurants, cafés, shops etc.

I don't know how accurate the plan and my ideas about the value of tourists to the immediate areas are. Anybody more knowledgeable on this?

I do know that many tourists hire cars at Nîmes airport, are picked up by friends/family or take the useful shuttle bus to Nîmes station to catch a bus from just behind the station and bring their money to many of our local towns and villages.

I also know that public transport to and from Nîmes to nearby towns and many villages is reasonably good. It concerns me that public transport to and from Montpellier airport doesn't seem up to much from what I've been told; fine if you have access to a car/can drive, but not otherwise.

With our new region due to organise transport all this could be thrown even more into the air if indeed it's a viable plan.

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http://www.midilibre.fr/2016/01/15/un-seul-aeroport-regional,1270687.php

http://www.herault-tribune.com/articles/32966/portiragnes-fermeture-des-aeroports-de-beziers-cap-d-agde-et-nimes-reaction-du-syndicat-mixte/

I think that this is just a plan put forward by the President of Montpellier airport to the shareholders.

This will be an interesting test for the new enlarged Region, the body responsible for transport.

We in Béziers have for a long time suffered from the grasping and greed of Montpellier in several areas; and suffered worse than Nîmes by the fact that we are the sous préfecture in the same départment , whereas at least Nîmesis the préfecture of the Gard.

We had hoped that the fact that Toulouse is now the capital of the region would remove some of the bias towards Montpellier which as difficult to combat as long as Montpellier  was also the capital of Languedoc.

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Norman, thanks for the links and also for Including how you feel that Béziers has suffered from Montpellier's treatment. I think you must be correct that Nîmes has had a better experience, although I'm not too well up on it all. It was definitely a plus that the Canadairs went to Nîmes.

It will be interesting to watch the battle of the airports, which could make a big difference to tourism around the region.
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Montpellier: decent sized airport, with plenty of capacity to absorb more flights. In truth, no more than an extra 20 mins or so further than Nimes, but as GG says, public transport is purely local.

Beziers: no idea, but seemingly attracts more traffic because of its proximity to the beaches.

Nimes: has struggled for the last 10 years. Probably only still viable because of Ryanair's continued patronage (!) and the aircraft servicing business.

Quite frankly, if you were making a purely commercial decision, you'd concentrate on Montpellier and withdraw the subsidies to the other two. Ryanair would then be forced to go head-to-head with EasyJet, who already serve Gatwick, Luton & Leeds at Montpellier. Maybe no bad thing.

Avignon is another possibility though. Already served by Flybe, but in recent years on a very much Summer only basis. Runway is long enough, but terminal facilities barely satisfactory for 189 seat aircraft. good for the Vaucluse & eastern Midi though.

Nothing will happen for the foreseeable future. Nimes will limp along, although its hardly an attractive option with the current 'red eye' schedule. Neither we, nor anybody visiting us, has used Nimes for years. Montpellier yes though, & some via Avignon, but at a price.

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Using the argument of size one could argue that there are already international airports at Toulouse and Marseille and the west of the new enlarged region could best be served by the former and the east by the latter.

Close Montpellier is my plan; but there may be a touch of bitterness in it...[6]

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Fewer people we know use Nîmes now, generally those without their own transport who can easily get home via Nîmes. We gave up on Luton/Nîmes mainly because those early morning flights are dreadful; we use Montpellier to Gatwick several times each year now.

None of our visitors has ever used Nîmes, they all use Montpellier or Marseille. Quite a few people we know from the NW of England don't travel to their properties between autumn and spring because Ryanair doesn't fly to Nîmes then. A couple fly to Nice because of the lack of flights to Nîmes, and some have tried Béziers and Carcassonne - a long drive to where we are, in the Gard.

We found in October that parking at Montpellier wasn't good; we arrived very early for a flight to Gatwick to find there was no space at all in long stay car parks; it all looked very smart after work on them, but it would seem that they have underestimated demand. The only alternative was to park on a short stay car park and pay extra for that 'privilege'. Booking online might be an answer, but lack of long stay spaces would still be a problem.
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