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Orly Airport (Paris)

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Orly Airport (Paris)

For the NATO military use of this facility, see Orly Air Base. For other uses, see Orly (disambiguation).

Paris Orly Airport
Aéroport de Paris-Orly
Airport type Public
Operator Aéroports de Paris
Serves Paris
Location Seven cities in Essonne and Val-de-Marne
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 291 ft / 89 m
Coordinates 48°43′24″N 02°22′46″E / 48.72333°N 2.37944°E / 48.72333; 2.37944Coordinates: 48°43′24″N 02°22′46″E / 48.72333°N 2.37944°E / 48.72333; 2.37944

Île-de-France region in France
Île-de-France region
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,400 7,874 Concrete
06/24 3,650 11,975 Bituminous concrete
08/26 3,320 10,892 Concrete
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 27,139,076
Source: French AIP[1]

Paris Orly Airport (French: Aéroport de Paris-Orly) (IATA: ORYICAO: LFPO) is an international airport located partially in Orly and partially in Villeneuve-le-Roi, 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) south[2] of Paris, France, not to be confused with Orlynow Airport. It has flights to cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, North America and Southeast Asia. Prior to the construction of Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly was the main airport of Paris. Even with the shift of most international traffic to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly remains the busiest French airport for domestic traffic and the second busiest French airport overall in terms of passenger traffic, with 27,139,076 in 2011.[3]

Orly Airport extends over 15.3 square kilometres (5.9 sq mi) of land. It straddles two départements and seven communes:

Management of the airport, however, is solely under the authority of Aéroports de Paris, which also manages Charles de Gaulle Airport, Le Bourget Airport, and several smaller airports in the suburbs of Paris.

Airlines and destinations

Other facilities

AOM French Airlines had its head office in Orly Airport Building 363 in Paray-Vieille-Poste.[10][11][12] After AOM and Air Liberté merged in 2001,[13] the new airline, Air Lib, occupied building 363.[14]



Orly Airport is connected to the A106 autoroute (extension of the A6 autoroute).



Originally known as Villeneuve-Orly Airport, the facility was opened in the southern suburbs of Paris in 1932 as a secondary airport to Le Bourget. Before this two huge airship hangars had been built there by the engineer Eugène Freyssinet from 1923 on.

Military use

Main article: Orly Air Base

As a result of the Battle of France in 1940, Orly Airport was used by the occupying German Luftwaffe as a combat airfield, stationing various fighter and bomber units at the airport throughout the occupation.[15] As a result, Orly was repeatedly attacked by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), destroying much of its infrastructure, and leaving its runways with numerous bomb craters to limit its usefulness by the Germans.

After the Battle of Normandy and the retreat of German forces from the Paris area in August 1944, Orly was partially repaired by USAAF combat engineers and was used by Ninth Air Force as tactical airfield A-47. The 50th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber aircraft from the airport until September, then liaison squadrons used the airfield until October 1945.[16]

The USAAF diagram from March 1947 shows the 6140-foot 27/207 (degrees magnetic) runway (later 03R) with 5170-foot 81/261 runway (later 08L) crossing it at its north end. The November 1953 Aeradio diagram shows four concrete runways, all 197 feet wide: 03L 7874 ft, 03R 6069 ft, 08L 5118 ft and 08R 6627 ft.

The American United States Army Air Forces 1408th Army Air Force Base Unit was the primary operator at Orly Field until March 1947 when control was returned to the French Government. (The United States Air Force leased a small portion of the Airport to support Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at Rocquencourt). The Americans left in 1967 as a result of France's withdrawal from NATO's integrated military command, and all non-French NATO forces were asked to leave France.[17]

In May 1958 Pan Am DC-7Cs flew to Los Angeles in 21 hr 56 min; TWA, Air France and Pan Am flew nonstop to New York in 14 hrs 10-15 min. Air France flew to Tokyo in 31 hr 5 min via Anchorage or 44 hr 45 min on a seven-stop 1049G via India. Air France's ten flights a day to London were almost all Viscounts; the only other London flight was Alitalia's daily DC-6B (BEA was at Le Bourget).

Incidents, accidents and attacks

On 3 June 1962, Air France Flight 007, a chartered Boeing 707 named the Chateau de Sully bound for Atlanta, U.S., crashed on take-off with 132 people on board; 130 of them were killed. The only survivors were two stewardesses seated in the rear of the plane. The charter flight was carrying home Atlanta's civic and cultural leaders of the day. At the time, this was the highest recorded death toll for an incident involving a single aircraft.

On 13 October 1972, Aeroflot Flight 217, an Ilyushin Il-62, departed from Orly for Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) on its way to Moscow. The flight inexplicably crashed on approach to its destination, killing all 174 people on board.

On 11 July 1973, Varig Flight 820, a Boeing 707, made a forced landing due to fire in a rear lavatory, incoming from Rio de Janeiro-Galeão. The aircraft landed 5 kilometers short of the runway, in a full-flap and gear down configuration. Due mainly to smoke inhalation, there were 123 deaths whilst 11 people survived (10 crew, 1 passenger).[18][19]

On 3 March 1974, Turkish Airlines Flight 981, in an event known as the "Ermenonville air disaster", crashed in Ermenonville forest after take-off from Orly on a flight to London's Heathrow Airport when an improperly closed cargo door burst open. The explosive decompression that resulted brought down the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. All 346 people on board were killed, making the accident one of the deadliest in aviation history.

On 13 January 1975, several men, including Ilich Ramírez Sánchez AKA Carlos the Jackal, made an unsuccessful Rocket-Propelled Grenade attack on an El Al Boeing 707 which was taking off for New York City with 136 passengers. They missed the aircraft, but damaged a JAT McDonnell Douglas DC-9 which had just disembarked passengers from Zagreb. The men tried again on 19 January, again without success when police spotted the terrorists and opened fire with a submachine gun.

On 20 May 1978, three terrorists opened fire on El Al passengers in the departure lounge. All three terrorists were killed, along with one policeman, and three French tourists were also injured.[20]

On 15 July 1983, the Armenian underground organisation ASALA bombed a Turkish airline counter in the airport, killing eight people and wounding over 50. The ASALA member Varoujan Garabedian was sentenced to life imprisonment for perpetrating the bombing.

See also



  • McAuliffe, Jerome J: U.S. Air Force in France 1950–1967 (2005), Chapter 14, Paris-USAF Operations.

External links

  • Aéroports de Paris (official site) (English)
  • Aéroport de Paris-Orly (Union des Aéroports Français) (French)
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