>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

  • This is a EUR 100m financing operation to support the strategic development of Réunion’s airport over the period 2017-2022, with a view to constructing sustainable, high-performance infrastructure tailored to meet future traffic growth estimated at 3 million passengers by 2025.
  • The new, particularly innovative terminal, without equivalent in the world, will have a bioclimatic design to reduce the environmental impact of the airport hub.

The European Investment Bank (EIB – the EU bank) and Réunion Roland Garros Airport announced today that they have concluded a EUR 100m loan to assist the implementation of the strategic plan for the island’s airport, known as the WELCOME plan, with the threefold objective of enhancing performance, safety and environmental protection. The partnership agreement was signed today at Roland Garros Airport by Chairman of the Management Board of S.A. Aéroport de La Réunion Guillaume Branlat and EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, who then visited the airport infrastructure.

“Roland Garros Airport wishes to strengthen its role as a creator of value and integrated economic infrastructure serving its region,” stated Guillaume BRANLAT, Chairman of the airport company. “We wish to consolidate our position as a major player in the island’s development by supporting the opening of new routes (a 10% increase in connectivity = a 0.5% increase in GDP; 100 000 additional passengers = 100 direct and 400 indirect jobs). By increasing the capacity of our infrastructure to 3.2 million passengers per year (compared to 2.3 million passengers today), we will make it more attractive for new operators. Roland Garros Airport also plans to create an aviation hub that will bring together maintenance, training and technology transfer activities.”

“This is a large-scale financing operation for a flagship airport project, which is both regional and European, and geared towards the common objectives of efficiency, innovation and environmental compatibility,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle during the signing ceremony. “By assisting the development of Roland Garros airport, we are underpinning the economic attractiveness of a region while offering users a top-notch reception service and safety standards.” He added: “With this new loan, the Juncker Plan, defined and implemented by the EIB, the EU bank, is continuing to flourish in Metropolitan France and the overseas departments. Since the launch of this Plan, 124 operations have been approved to finance projects with major economic and social impact for the island, generating EUR 42.7bn in additional investment for the French region.”

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “The EU has always narrowed the geographical distance which separates it from its outermost regions, such as Réunion, with the heartfelt closeness which forms the basis of our preferential partnership. Thanks to the Juncker Plan, the kilometres that distance us are reduced by the expansion of Roland Garros Airport. I welcome this project that will have an unquestionably positive impact on the island’s economy and its residents’ quality of life.” 

This EIB financing is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) – the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, commonly known as the Juncker Plan. The airport is therefore provided with particularly attractive financial terms tailored to the sector and investment type with a loan term of 19 years. It also benefits from the long fund availability period matching the project’s implementation period. This operation is expected to help generate additional investment for the airport from other investors.

The large-scale European support aims to promote the upgrading and development of Roland Garros Airport under the 2017-2022 strategic plan, fully in line with the strategic development directions for the airport established by the French Government. In concrete terms, this operation will help to reduce current traffic congestion and improve the environmental performance and safety of the existing infrastructure, in particular through the creation of a fully bioclimatic airport terminal, the extension and reconfiguration of the existing passenger terminal, the reinforcement of the protection dike of one of the runways, the construction of four new runway end safety areas (RESAs) and the new layout of the access roads and the car parks, which will integrate an exclusive-lane public transport system.

The design of the bioclimatic airport terminal is particularly innovative. Based on the methodology proposed by PREBAT (Programme of Research into and Experimentation on Energy in Buildings) and promoted by ADEME (National Agency for the Environment and Energy Management), a long-standing partner for its environmental projects, the terminal will be subject to thermal zoning, determining the areas to be ventilated or air-conditioned according to season.

As a trusted partner of the island for a number of years, the EIB Group has invested almost EUR 1.5bn in Réunion in support of infrastructure development, growth and employment in the region. This new financing operation brings to 124 the number of operations approved by the EIB Group in France in the framework of the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – representing total financing of EUR 7.4bn.