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Nice Mayor Estrosi's Travel Delays Tweet Causes Backlash of Comments

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

As residents prepared for a second weekend of lockdown, the Mayor of Nice caused controversy on Twitter after complaining about a journey through Paris Orly Airport.

Photo from 'Christian Estrosi' on Facebook

The Mayor tweeted a photo of (rather empty) airport security check on Friday 5 March with the caption:

"@ParisAeroport #Orly At its best. 30-minute wait for baggage checks, a 1km maze by foot only to not be able to board. Welcome to the elderly, people with reduced mobility and single parents with young children."

A politician himself, and his wife Laura Tenoudji a broadcast journalist on Télématin, would be expected, during normal times, to be frequent travellers between the capital and the Riviera.

However, being one of the toughest and most severe mayors on lockdown policies, including employing video surveillance drones to catch residents outside during the initial lockdown, his tweet struck a chord. Just days before the total weekend lockdown and closing parts of the promenade to prevent people from walking outdoors, Estrosi’s complaint of air travel delays smelled of a double standard and people were quick to reply with colourful comments.

The first to reply was Paris Aeroport Orly themselves, disputing Estrosi’s claims. They wrote that the average security queues that afternoon lasted only "between 30 seconds and 3 minutes", adding to the Mayor that "we remain at your disposal for any further information".

Long airport waits are an annoyance most of us have not had to put up with for some time - but would probably be happy to if it meant getting out of a weekend in lockdown! Most people who have visited an airport recently have reported them looking like ghost towns. Traffic in Orly Airport is down 62% since last January, and the Paris ADG group of airports (Orly, Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget), as a whole, by 67.1%. Many airlines are struggling to keep their business afloat, travel being one of the hardest-hit industries by the pandemic.

However frustrated, and whether or not it was his own trip, complaining about inconvenience in an airport may not have been the best PR move by the Mayor when the people of Nice were about to spend a weekend unable to leave their house without a signed affidavit.

Frustrated Niçois were not impressed. One comment read "Estrosi, the only guy to complain about the queue when the airports are empty..."

The worrying Covid-19 situation in the Alpes-Maritimes region which led to the weekend lockdown was of course invoked. The slow pace of the vaccine rollout in France has been no secret, although this past weekend did see an acceleration in our region, with more than 12,000 people jabbed over the two days.

Drawing a comparison between the vaccine and airport queue, Twitter user @velonoir1 wrote "The labyrinth at the vaccination centre is as long in distance."

Given that Mr Estrosi has spent the past several months warning tourists not to come to his region, openly expressed his anger at people coming from elsewhere in France over the Christmas period and tried to ban Airbnb rentals over the February holidays, people did not take kindly to this nod to cross country travel.

Pandemic or not, the fact the Mayor even considered flying to Paris when a train from Nice Ville station can get you there directly in less than six-hour was enough to outrage some. The replies bombarded him with lectures on the environment and climate change. The train being the option of ‘ordinary people’ was also fired as an accusation of elitism.

"Are there still Nice-Paris flights??? Did you know that the dynamic of the Gulf Stream is declining because of climate change? Stop taking the plane, limit your journeys, for the good of everyone." was one such appeal to Mr Estrosi.

Christian Estrosi certainly has not done anything wrong, but the sense of a double standard caused by his seemingly unfounded complaint on air travel delays has sparked discontent amongst residents under his strict pandemic restrictions.

What do you think of the reaction? Tell us in the comments below!

- Kimberley Mannion

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