In a bid to cut carbon emissions, France on Tuesday formally imposed a ban on domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by train, BBC reported. Under the new law, any journeys that are possible in less than two-and-a-half hours by train cannot be taken as a flight.
The change will mostly rule out air trips between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux, with connecting flights unaffected.
Clement Beaune, France’s transport minister, told CNN, ”This is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast, and efficient connections by train.”
The law specifies that train services on the same route must be frequent, timely, and well-connected enough to meet the needs of passengers who would otherwise travel by air. People making such trips should also be able to make outbound and return train journeys on the same day, having spent eight hours at their destination.
The country 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. A report from Transport and Environment (T&E), the European Federation for clean transport, found that private jets are up to 14 times more polluting than commercial flights per passenger mile, and 50 times worse than trains.
However, the move has irked the aviation industry. Laurent Donceel, interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E), told the AFP that “banning these trips will only have minimal effects” on CO2 output.
He added that governments should instead support “real and significant solutions” to the issue.