Investigation to look into design, construction of Paris terminal

The French government announced Monday authorities will investigate the cause of the collapse of a terminal at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. A 100-foot section of the concrete, steel and glass roof crashed onto the waiting area, boarding ramp and several airport vehicles Sunday morning, killing four travelers.

According to French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the full investigation is likely to focus on whether there was a fault in the design, or whether short cuts were taken during the terminal’s construction. The terminal’s architect, Paul Andreu, flew to France from his latest project in China to help with the investigation.

“I will place myself at the disposal of the French airport authorities,” Andreu told the BBC.

The $890 million terminal was originally lauded as a jewel of design, safety and comfort when it opened in June. The ultra-modern building rests on concrete pylons and features a honeycombed arched ceiling of square windows.

The terminal was supposed to open in spring 2003, but had experienced several delays due to security concerns and accusations from trade unions that construction was being rushed.

Originally designed to handle 10 million passengers a year, terminal 2E was part of a strategy to turn Paris into Europe’s main airport hub. French authorities announced Monday the terminal might be demolished if the investigation finds the rest of the structure unsafe.