Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Gets Express Train To Capital By 2023

CDG Express Logo

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) will finally get a new express train into the city by 2023 that would reduce travel time by up to than 50%.


Charles de Gaulle Airport

Current Travel Options

Passengers to and from the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport currently have access to multi-modal options in the form of express bus, local bus and rapid transit lines to get into the capital (follow table below for the main options available). All of these options require at least 35 minutes of travel time from the airport to the city center. While inter-regional high speed TGV serves this top 10 most travelled airport in the world, it bypasses the capital completely.


Multi-Model Option Line Cost (in € / £ / US$) Frequency Time From CDG to City
Airport Express Bus

Le Bus Direct


17 / ~15 / ~19

11.50 / ~10 / ~13

Every 30 minutes

Every 15-20 minutes

50-70 minutes

60 minutes

Local Bus



6 / ~5 / ~7  Every 20-30 minutes ~75 minutes
Rapid Transit + Metro RER Line B + Metro  7-10 / ~6-9 / ~8-11 Every 6-15 minutes 35-40 minutes


Future Development

Under the proposal plan approved by the European Commission, there will be funding allocated to construct a dedicated express rail link between Paris Gare de l’Est station directly to the Charles-de-Gaulle Airport. The 32 kilometers (~20 miles) link dubbed CDG Express will be operated jointly by SNCF Réseau and Aéroports de Paris.  Construction and train supplier would be determined in a future bidding process. While train type has not been determined, it is expected to have WiFi and power connectivity and flight departure boards on board.


CDG Express Alignment Map
CDG Express Alignment Map .    Source: Groupe ADP


The cost to build the line is estimated to be €1·32 billion (£1.16 billion / USD$1.5 billion) with financing partially paid for by a levy to be imposed on all non-transit air passengers in 2024. The rest of the construction bill will be managed by a state guarantee loan mechanism.



Gare de l’Est

Gare de l’Est (also known as the East Station), is located in the 10th arrondissement and is one of the six large SNCF termini in the capital. This train station is the best candidate for the directly link to the airport as it connects to five types of train service (two high speed TGV lines (14 routes), one euro night line, one intercity line, seven regional lines, and three metro lines that feed to Disneyland Paris and the other 5 SNCF termini).


Paris Gare de l'Est Station 2009
Paris Gare de l’Est Station 2009 Source: By Gilbert Bochenek via Wikimedia Commons


There have not been plans announced for the Gare de l’Est transformation ahead of the direct link opening. It is expected that a dedicated track area would be designed for the direct link close to the passenger hall for quick access. Additionally, hub airline Air France/KLM may set up mobile units to manage passenger check in, ticketing and inquire service similar to ones set up in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.


Competition and Recipe for Success

Charles de Gaulles Airport has one of the longest travel time from city center by public transit compare to its biggest European competitors including:

  • London Heathrow Airport (LHR) – Heathrow Express Train
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) – Subway
  • Frankfurt Airport (FRA) – Regional Train
  • Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) – Subway

It will take another six years before the airport can catch up to its peers with an express train service. While all travellers would like to get to the airport as quick as possible, cost will play a big factor on whether the service would be a success. Followed by price cuts on similar express train offers from London (Related News on Discounts) and Toronto (Related News on Price Cuts), the future CDG Express operator should price this new line competitively. As shown by the other lines, business travellers would not be enough to generate profits. Initial pricing without any type of discount should not be more than 25-30% above the highest pricing offered by other modal options at the time of introduction.


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