Source: Photo by Bao Menglong/Unsplash

France Bans Short-Haul Flights to Cut Carbon Emissions

In a significant move to combat climate change, France has implemented a ban on domestic short-haul flights where train alternatives exist. This new law comes into effect two years after lawmakers initially voted to discontinue routes that could be completed by train in under two-and-a-half hours. The ban primarily affects air travel between Paris and cities like Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux, while connecting flights remain unaffected. However, critics argue that these measures are merely symbolic bans.

Skepticism Surrounding the Impact of the Ban

Laurent Donceel, the interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E), expressed skepticism about the impact of banning such trips on CO2 emissions. He stated, “Banning these trips will only have minimal effects.” Donceel emphasized the need for governments to support “real and significant solutions”  to address the issue of carbon emissions.

Source: Photo by Bao Menglong/Unsplash

Challenges for the Airline Industry in a Post-Pandemic World

The airline industry has already faced significant challenges due to the global pandemic. Flightradar24 reported a nearly 42% decrease in the number of flights in 2020 compared to 2019. The ban on short-haul flights adds another hurdle for airlines worldwide. As they strive to recover and adapt to changing travel preferences, finding sustainable solutions becomes increasingly crucial.

Resistance and Compromises in Implementing the Ban

France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, established by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and comprised of 150 members of the public, had initially proposed eliminating plane journeys where train alternatives of under four hours existed. However, this proposal was revised to two-and-a-half hours following objections from various regions and Air France-KLM. The move to reduce the limit on train alternatives was met with resistance.

Source: Unsplash Pass Horizon

Advocating for Sustainable Travel and Consumer Protection

The ban on short-haul flights serves as a bold step towards reducing carbon emissions in France. While some criticize it as merely symbolic, it sends a clear message about the urgency of addressing climate change. French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir advocated for retaining the four-hour limit and called for safeguards to ensure that the French national railway, SNCF, does not exploit the opportunity to increase prices or compromise the quality of rail services. This demonstrates the importance of sustainable travel options and consumer protection in the pursuit of a greener future.

If you want to read more about this topic, check out this article about the world’s first fully solar-powered train.

This article was inspired by an article from



Even in cases when it’s difficult or impossible to remove the car from the picture entirely, there are ways to “green” our transportation infrastructure and simultaneously improve our health and quality of life. Click ahead to find out one way to improve what’s already in place, and future projects you can get behind.

Support Now
Join the Conversation Login or Signup to Comment