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The Paris Orly Airport has reopened with limited service after nearly three months of shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first flight took off from the airport, 13 km south of Paris, at 6.25 a.m. Friday, Xinhua news agency quoted France 24 as saying.

A Transavia plane bound for the Portuguese city of Porto was sprayed by water cannons from the airport fire brigade vehicles in a so-called “water salute” ceremony before taking off, said the report.

Closed to commercial passenger traffic since April 1, the airport was expected to handle 70 flights of a dozen airlines carrying nearly 8,000 passengers on Friday.

Before the pandemic, the airport had handled a daily average of 600 flights and 90,000 passengers.

For now, only the airport’s Orly 3 sector is operational. Sectors 1, 2 and 4 will reopen later as demand increases.

“Although all the companies have not yet submitted their flight programs, it is already possible to draw up the first map of French and European destinations for the coming weeks,” said the Groupe ADP, which owns and operates the French capital’s international airports.

The airport has put in place hygienic-sanitary measures for the reopening.

The wearing of face masks is mandatory upon entering the terminal.

Some 150 automatic hydroalcoholic gel dispensers, as well as plexiglass windows at check-in desks and other counters, have been installed.

Airport staff uses thermal cameras to check the temperature of passengers.

Orly is the French capital’s second-largest hub after Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) north of Paris.

Charles de Gaulle remained open throughout the country’s COVID-19 lockdown, though traffic collapsed by almost 98 per cent in May, according to France 24.

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