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France: Paris airport operator hit with fine over terminal building collapse

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Emergency services work at the collapsed terminal building at Roissy airport, outside of Paris, 23 May 2004. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

The operator of Paris airports has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the killing of four people when a terminal building collapsed in 2004 at Charles de Gaulle airport.


Aeroports de Paris (ADP) was slapped with the maximum fine of 225,000 euros by a court in Bobigny, near Paris.

The collapse of the terminal building happened on 23 May 2004, less than one year after the building had opened. It was designed by award-winning architect Paul Andreu, who designed a number of different airports across the world.

ADP billed the terminal building as a “showcase for France”. However, six concrete arches and walkways, measuring some 30 metres, came crashing down on passengers at the supposedly ultra-modern terminal.

It left two Chinese citizens dead as well as one Ukrainian and one Lebanese. Seven people were injured, including two security officers ordered to investigate reports of a crack in the structure.

Lawyers acting for the airport company declined to comment on the ruling. Three subcontractors – a construction company, engineering firm and inspection company – were told to pay fines ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 euros.

The ruling comes as the French authorities promote the sale of shares of ADP to the public as part of a privatisation initiative involving a number of state-owned companies.

Privatisation plans have been met with criticism from some detractors saying officials are selling a prized state asset that has interests in 26 airports around the world.

ADP brought in 173 million euros in dividends for the state in 2017, according to the AFP news agency.