Expansion of the terminal building, modernization of the checked luggage control system... The Montpellier platform will invest €70 million up until 2025 to increase its capacity and improve its services, in addition to the construction of a hotel complex and office buildings…
Aircraft landing on the tarmac of Montpellier Méditerranée Airport (AMM) will have to share space for a few months with... cranes and excavators! The Languedoc platform is going to embark on some titanic work in order to increase its capacity. The highlight of this metamorphosis will be the creation of a new terminal building. It will be an extension of the current building, which dates from 1977 and was extended in 1990. To carry out this project, the airport's shareholders, namely the State (60%), the Hérault Chamber of Commerce (25%), the Hérault Department (7%), the Occitania Region (6.5%), the Pays de l'Or conurbation authority (1%) and the Montpellier metropolitan area (0.5%) gave the green light to AMM for a first tranche of investments of 26.6 M€.
This expansion had become essential to keep pace with the significant increase in traffic. This year, Montpellier Méditerranée Airport is expected to break its historic record set in 2000, with more than 1.83 million passengers expected compared to 1.67 million in 2016 and 1.51 million in 2015. A gain of 320,000 passengers in just two years! And the "Destination 2020" project foresees an annual growth of 3.6% per year until 2022. In short, the airport, which also has to deal with marked seasonality, with peak traffic during the summer, would have reached its capacity limits by 2019.
A little more patience! The project, aiming to increase capacity to 2.2 million passengers per year, will start in the next few weeks, with delivery just before the summer 2019 peak. The work will be carried out without obstructing current traffic and will have no impact on passenger safety. In detail, a new building of 5700 m2 with fluid lines will be built as an extension to the current terminal. It will provide a new 2,500 m2 registration terminal on the ground floor, particularly suited to low-cost airlines, which account for 35% of global traffic and are likely to increase their weight in the coming years.
The extension will also make it possible to revamp the checked luggage control system for greater efficiency, as well as the pooling of screening checkpoints for improved access to aircraft; two essential points, considering that quality of service is a decisive factor in the airport's attractiveness, particularly for business customers. On the first floor, there are plans to create 3200 m2 of new space for better circulation and passenger comfort, including two new pre-boarding rooms and 1000 m2 of additional commercial activities (restaurants, shops, etc.).
This expansion is only a first step (giving Montpellier Méditerranée Airport definitive access to the closed circle of major regional airports and gearing it up to contend with the platforms of Toulouse and Marseille). With traffic growth of 2% from 2023 to 2025 (at a conservative estimate), experts estimate that the Languedoc airport will receive 2.42 million passengers per year by 2025 (600,000 more than today), with the opening of new routes. The number of direct destinations from Montpellier should thus jump to 50 in the medium term, compared to around 30 today. The airport's shareholders are therefore planning a second tranche of investments amounting to an additional €43.3 million between 2021 and 2025, notably in the improvement of the aeronautical pavements and a second phase of infrastructure expansion. Enough to increase capacity to 3 million passengers per year...
In the meantime, other projects will emerge, especially around the platform. The construction of a hotel complex (approximately 150 rooms) under the banners Ibis Budget (2*) and Ibis Styles (3*), a brasserie with seating for a hundred people, a seminar centre and sports facilities (squash, swimming pool...) will start in December, with delivery also scheduled for the summer of 2019. The construction of several office buildings adjacent to the hotel will begin in the spring of 2018. Enough to attract ever more companies to the airport area, and further contribute to its dynamism and outreach.