France’s economy ministry plans to present a draft law on June 18 that will pave the way for the state to reduce its stake in Paris airports operator Groupe ADP, part of a wider privatization drive that also includes lottery operator FDJ and energy company Engie.

Groupe ADP operates Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Air France’s base hub and Europe’s second busiest airport, which handled 69.5 million passengers in 2017. It also controls the city’s secondary airport, Orly, which handled 32 million passengers last year, as well as the smaller business-aviation focused airport, Le Bourget. It also holds stakes in Turkish airports operator TAV Airports and Santiago de Chile Airport.

The French state owns 50.6% of Groupe ADP, and has not specified how much of its stake it plans to sell or when the process will be completed. But Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister, told RTL radio on June 13 that any activities related to national sovereignty would remain under state control. “There won’t be fewer customs officials, fewer police officers or fewer border checks,” he said.

The divestments would help France invest in innovation, he added: “It’s vital we redefine the role of the state in our economy. Do we want a state that is content simply to receive dividends or do we want a strategic state that is preparing for the future?”

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk