France has banned domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by train in less than two-and-a-half hours — a move aimed at reducing airline emissions. By doing so, the country plans to reduce its emissions by 40 per cent in 2030.
Although the measure was included in a 2021 climate law and already applied in practice, some airlines had asked the European Commission to investigate whether it was legal, reported ABC News.
The change will mostly rule out air trips between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon (both about a five-hour drive) and Bordeaux (almost a six-and-a-half hour drive), with connecting flights unaffected, added the report.
To ease passengers’ travel through trains, the law also states that the services on the same route must be able to absorb the increase in passenger numbers and that they must be frequent, timely and well-connected to meet the needs of the travellers who would otherwise take a short-haul flight.
Criticizing the move, Laurent Donceel, interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E), said governments should support “real and significant solutions” to airline emissions, rather than “symbolic bans”. Brussels had found that “banning these trips will only have minimal effects” on CO2 output, he added.
France is also cracking down on the use of private jets for short journeys in a bid to make transport greener and fairer for the population. While Green MPs have called for banning small private flights altogether, Transport Minister Clement Beaune last month trailed a higher climate charge for users from next year.
Beaune said the country could no longer tolerate the super-rich using private planes while the public is making cutbacks to deal with the energy crisis and climate change, reported Euro News.