Paris 2024 Olympics. “We might have 300,000 travelers during the day”, at Roissy, the police are ready to welcome the flow of travelers

Paris 2024 Olympics. “We might have 300,000 travelers during the day”, at Roissy, the police are ready to welcome the flow of travelers
Paris 2024 Olympics. “We might have 300,000 travelers during the day”, at Roissy, the police are ready to welcome the flow of travelers

The border police (PAF) at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport are confident they will be able to manage the number of travellers during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

From passport control to security in the terminal, the border police (PAF) at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport says it is ready to handle the flow of passengers expected during the Paris Olympics, thanks in particular to numerous reinforcements. During the Olympic Games (July 26-August 11) and Paralympic Games (August 28-September 8), “we know that there are days that are going to be extremely important and we may have 300,000 travelers during the day at Roissy”, explains Julien Gentile, director of the PAF of Parisian aerodromes.

Every day, around 200,000 passengers, including departures, arrivals and connections, pass through the capital’s air hub. “The aim is to cope with the influx of additional travellers, the details of which are not known” and to avoid any “thrombosis” on the travel circuit, explains the controller general.

Behind him, passengers pass through the Parafe counters, the automatic control system for biometric passports, reserved for adult citizens of the European Union (EU) and some other countries. Normally, 150 counters where passports and visas are checked manually are open.

From July 12 to September 15, the 250 checkouts at the Paris airport will operate from 4:30 a.m. to midnight and a little less for the rest of the night. “It’s a bit like if, in your supermarket, all the checkouts were open all the time, from opening to closing,” comments Mr. Gentile.

Flow control

The workforce has therefore been reinforced by 2,000 officers from other border police services in France and European police officers from Frontex. Every year, 100 million passengers pass through Roissy-CDG and Orly. “We know how to manage very large volumes of passengers. But if in the same minute there are 5,000 or 10,000 people, that poses a problem,” notes the director of the PAF.

For the past five years, the PAF has been equipped with an application provided by Aéroports de Paris (ADP), which allows the analysis of passenger flows in real time. The application produces a “view of the border and a calculation of waiting times”, explains Cécile Aerdeman, deputy head of the cross-border control division. On the screen of her tablet, dozens of moving white dots appear, representing passengers. As soon as they are taken care of at the aubettes (border control post), they turn blue. On the ceiling, hundreds of sensors grid the flow.

On Wednesday morning, the handfuls of travelers from the United States or Egypt passed through passport control without a hitch. The fluidity was confirmed on Cécile Aerdeman’s screen: zero minutes of waiting. “If a border line is already jammed and a large delegation is expected there, we will know that we will have to facilitate the passage by, for example, opening a special route,” explains the commissioner. The 50,000 to 60,000 accredited persons expected at Roissy will be greeted directly by the PAF and the Games Organizing Committee (Cojo) when they get off the plane, then taken to the border posts where their identity documents will be checked.

“Image of France”

For athletes travelling with oversized luggage (kayaks, poles, bicycles, etc.), a dedicated space will be reserved in the baggage room. And for the 120 heads of state expected for the opening ceremony, a VIP welcome is planned in the reception pavilion. On the evening of the opening ceremony, air traffic will be banned within a 150 km radius of Paris between 7 p.m. and midnight, bringing Roissy-CDG, Orly and Beauvais (Oise) to a standstill.

While the arrivals in France of delegations and spectators will be spread out in the days preceding the global event, departures will be more concentrated. The authorities are expecting a significant flow of travelers on August 12, 13 and 14, overlapping the summer rush of French vacationers.

To avoid saturating the terminals, ADP offers athletes a baggage check-in directly at the Olympic Village at the end of the competitions and a dedicated terminal will be reserved for accredited personnel. The border police say they are ready. “Logically, the place where things should go well this summer is the Paris airports,” says Julien Gentile.

In terms of security, patrols have been stepped up in the terminal since July 1, with the aim of being visible and deterring pickpocketing teams and fake taxis that target tourists who have come for the Games. For Commander Régis Bailleul, deputy head of public security at the Roissy PAF, there is no question of failing: “France’s image is at stake, because it is the first step of the passenger who will arrive on the territory.”

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