President’s Letter | January 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

2019 is gone, welcome 2020!

On our airports, the New Year is usually the time for figures showing the growth in numbers of passengers, economy of the reduction of carbon emissions, noise, etc.  If you are like me you expect those numbers and like to show you’re proud of “your” airport. Pride can be a positive thing on the matter a way of expressing your interest and support to managers and staff of the airport.

Figures for 2019 are being published showing that air traffic is continuously growing bringing constant evolutions on our airports. One figure that came out those past days is the one about crashes and casualties. Stephan, our media officer posted an article on our Twitter and Facebook accounts which showed that “plane crash fatalities fell more than 50% in 2019“. Quoting the website Aviation Safety Network the article went on calling 2019 “one of the safest year ever for commercial aviation”. According to the same website it is indeed the 5th safest year since 1942, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th being 2017, 2015, 2013 and 2016. As the following graph shows aviation safety has improved over the years and quite drastically so this past decade.


This is a very good news for the aviation industry we serve and in which we are witnesses of the love of the Creator for each human being and all of creation. It gives us good reasons to celebrate the New Year and look with confidence towards the new decade.

Nevertheless, just a few days after this article was published we all heard the news of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines 752 in Iran, killing its 176 passengers and crew. The same day we also got the news that the dead body of a boy from Ivory Coast was found in the undercarriage of a plane here in Paris-CDG. Adding to the global tensions around the situation in the Middle East and the terrible bushfires in Australia (amongst other sad news) we are reminded of the fragility of our lives, our humanity, our societies. When we feel powerful, strong and confident it is good to be reminded that

The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children’s children.
Psalm 103:15-17

I suppose that humility before the Creator and his creation is a virtue shared by each major faith on earth. It is certainly one of lessons of Epiphany that was celebrated earlier this month in western Christianity as we remembered the Wise Men’s journey and adoration of the baby king and prophet who would soon to be exiled to avoid the cruelty of a mad king. Any news or event, personal or global, good or bad we should take with humility.

The New Year is a time to wish good things to all those we meet. January also marks the New year for Buddhist of the Greater Vehicle (Mahayana New Year on the 10th) as well as the opening of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat on the 25th). Many other Holy Days are celebrated in various traditions around the world (see further “Holy days of the month). Some of these holy days might be new to some of us.

In order to share more about our tradition I suggest that chaplains of various traditions send us a short text explaining the meaning of one of their holy days of the month giving us also a more personal understanding of what this festival means to him or her. To open this tradition, Haïm Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France and chaplain at Paris-CDG and Paris-Orly tells us about Tu B’shvat, the New Year of the trees. With a great sense of humility together with gratitude I wish each one of you, your loved ones, colleagues and friends a very happy New Year and New Decade and may the Creator of all things bless you and keep you in peace!

Rev Pierre de Mareuil

Holy Days of the Month
Celebrating and sharing our traditions


  • 01-03 Oshogatsu, Japanese New Year (Shinto & Buddhism)
  • 02 Guru Gobind Singh Birthday (Sikhism)
  • 05-06 Epiphany (Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches)
  • 06 Theophany (Byzantine Orthodox churches)
  • 07 Nativity of Christ (Russia and other eastern churches)
  • 10 Mahayana New Year (Mahayana Buddhism)
  • 12 Baptism of Jesus (Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches)
  • 13 Lohri – Maghi (Sikhism)
  • 15 Makar Sankranti (Hinduism)
  • 19 Theophany (Russia and other eastern churches)
  • 25 Chinese New Year celebrating the Rat
  • 30 Saraswati Puja (Hinduism)

Don’t miss them in February:

  • 02 Candelmas / Presentation of Jesus (Anglican, Byzantine, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches)
  • 08 Thaipusam (Hindu Tamil)
  • 09 Magha Puja (Theravada Buddhism)
  • 10 Tu B’Shvat (or Tu Bishvat – Judaïsm)* see article below
  • 15 Parinirvana (Mahayana Buddhism – can also be celebrated on the 8th)
  • 21 or 22 Maha Shivaratri (Hinduism)
  • 24 Losar (Tibet New Year)
  • 26 Ash Wendesday (Anglican, Roman Catholic and some Protestant Chrurches)