Air: In Mayotte, the extension of the Pamandzi runway “not reasonable”, the option of a new airport at Bouyouni preferred

Air: In Mayotte, the extension of the Pamandzi runway “not reasonable”, the option of a new airport at Bouyouni preferred
Air: In Mayotte, the extension of the Pamandzi runway “not reasonable”, the option of a new airport at Bouyouni preferred

State services, in particular from the Ministries of Transport and Overseas Territories, brought together the elected officials of Mayotte this Tuesday to present to them the first results of the technical feasibility studies, relating to both a possible extension of the runway Pamandzi or the construction of a new airport in Bouyouni, northwest of Mamoudzou. A subject, linked to the necessary air accessibility of the island, the least good in Overseas Territories, the first studies of which date back to 2019 and for which the State has mobilized 9 million euros.

This time, the new feasibility studies have brought about new constraints for the hitherto main option of extending the current runway at Marcel Henry airport in Pamandzi. And not least. According to those close to Ministers Patrice Vergriete (Transport) and Marie Guévenoux (Overseas), the discovery in 2018 of an underwater volcano off the southeast of the archipelago, added to the multiplication of episodes of submersion marine phenomena, high tides, rising sea levels (2.2 meters over 100 years) and seismo-volcanic activity call into question the “ sustainability of the current site ”, and raise fears “ the gradual inoperability of the airport from 2035 “.

Long considered, the option of a converging track at Pamandzi has taken a serious hit in the wing, due to new environmental and seismo-volcanic data

Therefore impertinent with the specifications which surround this extension of the runway, namely better service to the archipelago, a direct and permanent link with Paris and France and the growth of traffic. On this subject, an extension of Pamandzi would ultimately make it possible to accommodate 900,000 annual passengers, when the ambitions are 1.2 million. In addition, the extension of the Pamandzi runway, or more concretely the construction of a converging runway, would require 9 years of work for 1.1 billion euros, compared to the 200 million announced so far.

Cause of this additional cost: adaptation to the new environmental conditions mentioned above, which would imply, for example, an imperative raising of the track by 5 to 8 meters so that it is not submerged. Not to mention that this converging runway of 2,600 meters would not be able to accommodate large aircraft such as the A350-1000 or the A330-900 and that its construction will put a pause on direct service to and from Paris, as well as a Raising the current runway would result in 18 months of work and therefore the closure of air traffic over the same period.

We are not technically capable of protecting the entire track » we add from the Ministry of Transport, where we assure that even if elevated, the new environmental conditions could still submerge part of the track.

The most viable option would therefore be the construction of a new airport at Bouyouni, northwest of Mamoudzou, between Longoni and Tsingoni. If for this option, everything has to be built, it at least has the merit, according to the State, of offering Mayotte long-term air accessibility, with less risks, a similar duration of work but which does not will not encroach on air traffic. And if the “technical feasibility of this project » remains a “ challenge “, however, we put forward a challenge ” not restrained » environmental constraints.

For the moment, no decision, but consultations and a “ dialogue phase » which begins. “ We draw conclusions from technical studies » which are without appeal: the extension of Pamandzi « is not reasonable “. “ It would be building on sand », insists the Ministry of Transport, while the Bouyouni option allows “build resilient infrastructure “. From now on, the government, which still says it is mobilized on this subject, is calling for “build a shared vision for a viable solution », starting with a timetable which begins with the local resumption of Copil, while awaiting the finalization of the studies, since the meeting this Tuesday morning was a first step.

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