French lawmakers have voted to suspend domestic airline flights on routes that can be travelled by direct train in under two-and-a-half hours.
French mps vote to ban domestic flights where trains are available
France is poised to ban short domestic flights in favour of train services, after lawmakers approved a plan that will see a number of air routes discontinued in a bid to reduce emissions. French MPs voted late on Saturday 10 April to suspend some flights by domestic airlines when those journeys could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours, as part of a wider climate bill. Should the bill pass through the upper house, the Senate, France will join a number of European countries seeking to reduce or eliminate short flights.
France has been considering a variety of measures to reduce emissions from aviation
French lawmakers voted to ban domestic flight routes that can be covered by train in under 2hr30min. This is an effort by the government to lower carbon emissions from air travel. This vote was made by the National Assembly, but there will be two more sets of votes before this is formally approved.
This vote came shortly after it was announced that the French government would more than double its stake in Air France-KLM, which is coming with some significant provisions.
This latest bill is part of an overall effort by the country to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, bringing them back down to 1990 levels.
As France’s Industry Minister, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, described this update:
“We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions. Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside.”
France has been considering a variety of measures to reduce emissions from aviation. For example, last year the country was considering adding the world’s highest aviation eco-tax, which could be 400 EUR one-way for long haul business class flights.
Other ideas under consideration included banning flights where there are train connections of less than four hours, and even banning the construction of new airports and expansion of existing airports.
How many routes are actually impacted by this?
This new measures may seem drastic, but how many flight routes are actually potentially impacted by this legislation? Of the 108 pre-coronavirus domestic routes in France, the new law potentially impacts just five routes.
They include the following (flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle are not impacted):
- Paris Orly to Bordeaux
- Paris Orly to Lyon
- Paris Orly to Nantes
- Paris Orly to Rennes
- Lyon to Marseille
Essentially, the new law would potentially ban 4.6% of domestic flight routes. Granted, these are probably some of the more high frequency routes, so it likely represents more than 4.6% of total domestic capacity, nevertheless, it’s not as drastic as the headlines may at first suggest.
Other European short-haul flights targeted
Elsewhere in Europe, Austria’s coalition conservative-green government introduced a €30 tax on airline tickets for flights of less than 217 miles (350km) last June and a ban on domestic flights that could be travelled in less than three hours by train.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has been trying since June 2013 to ban short domestic flights. In 2019, Dutch MPs voted to ban flights between Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and Zaventem airport in Brussels, a distance of 93 miles. However, the ban was seen as breaking European commission free-movement regulations and was not implemented.
10 EASY WAYS TO TRAVEL GREENER
Many travelers avoid eco-friendly travel, thinking it’s more expensive to go green on the road. You could believe this myth, or you could make a few simple switches to how you travel that make a big difference to the environment and your wallet. —SmarterTravel