Lille is a popular French airport located in the northern regions of the country, and is significant for both passenger and cargo traffic. It is found just 7km, or 4 miles from the city centre of Lille, nearby the border of Belgium and in amongst a dense network of important roads. The airport is therefore very strategically located for all its operations. Many refer to it as the Lesquin Airport, or as the Lille-Lesquin Airport, as it is situated in Lesquin, south of Lille, and it is allocated the official airport code of LIL. Lille arrival area is adequate for the number of passengers it handles on a yearly basis, and is equipped with all necessary facilities. Flights arrive at the airport from several local and international destinations, and they are offered by a variety of airline companies.
Lille is ranked as the twelfth busiest airport in France in terms of passenger traffic, and the fourth largest for cargo movements. Passenger traffic at the airport was recorded at around 1.147,000 in 2009, and is only expected to increase over the years to come. Many of the airport passengers are business travellers, perhaps heading for Euralille, which is one of the largest business centres in France, and which is found in the city centre of Lille. Passengers are arriving for leisure purposes as well. The airport handles scheduled and holiday flights, to and from a wide variety of destinations, and the main airline companies available include Air France, Air France operated by Régional, Aigle Azur, Air Algérie, Chalair Aviation, EasyJet, Ryanair, Royal Air Maroc, Transavia France and Vueling.
Local destinations directly served by the airline companies of Lille Airport include Marseille, Lyon, Brest, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Bordeaux, while other flights arrive from destinations such as Algiers, Casablanca, Porto, Barcelona, Marrakech and Alicante. Flights arrive several times a day from the domestic locations, and several times a week from international destinations. Numerous holiday flights are available from the airport as well, to and from places such as the Canary and Balearic Islands, Greece and Egypt.
Lille Airport is designed for convenience and efficiency, with minimal transfer and waiting times, and the single passenger terminal has all the facilities required by its arriving and departing customers. The terminal is relatively new, having been completed in 1996, and the old terminal is now used as a general (private) and business aviation building. The airport, due to its significance for cargo movements, has a very modern and well-sized freight terminal as well. Within the passenger terminal, all facilities are clearly marked, in English and French, and passengers will easily find their way around. Facilities at the airport include waiting areas, boarding lounges, airport shops and restaurants, WiFi internet connections, public telephones, baby-changing areas and a business centre, which has rooms equipped for all corporate meetings and functions. The rooms are able to seat between thirty and forty people. Lille Airport is often described as a ‘fifteen-minute’ airport, and is rated as fourth out of the top fifteen airports in France for punctuality.
At the exit of the Lille Airport arrival hall, there are several car hire companies available, for example, Europcar, Avis, Hertz, National and Auto Europa. They are open at times which are convenient for arriving passengers, and provide quality vehicles and competitive car rental rates. In a rented car is often considered as one of the best ways to explore the country of France, as there are main roads and highways which link all the towns and cities of interest. The city of Lille is just a ten minute drive from the airport on the A1 Autoroute, and the A22 and A27 roads lead into the country of Belgium, to cities such as Tournai, Kortrijk, Waregem and Ghent. The A22 also leads to the northern areas of Lille, such as Tourcoing and Roubaix. In the opposite direction, Paris can be reached on the A1 as well, and the A23 leads to Valenciennes. The A25 is the road to take to northern coastal areas, such as Dunkirk and Calais.
Other ways to travel from the airport include by bus or taxi, but there is no airport train station. Public bus services are available from outside of the terminal building, approximately every hour, and run to the city centre of Lille, to a bus stop located in between the two main railway stations of the city, known as the Lille-Europe and the Lille-Flandres stations. The buses stop outside the Euralille shopping centre. Taxis are available from the taxi rank of the airport, and travel to all nearby areas. There are usually cars waiting for passengers after arrival flights, but taxi services can also be booked in advance.
Passengers who have parked private vehicles in the airport parking lots can proceed to pay for their time at the airport at the automatic machines found on the second level of the building and on the ground floor at the exit of the terminal. Only pay for parking once you are ready to leave the airport.
Further details regarding the airport’s operations are available from the information desk, and live Lille arrivals can be viewed on several online websites.
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