The French government is the first major economy to ban short-haul flights involving a train or bus alternative of 2.5 hours or less. This is a measure voted on in 2021 and will come into effect in April 2022.
The ban is “an attempt” to reduce the country’s carbon emissions from air travel. This is a move that could eliminate 12% of French domestic flights, according to The Guardian. The flights affected are those from the capital Paris to cities such as Bordeaux, Nantes or Lyon.
In 2021, the French government bailed out its domestic airline Air France for an amount of 7 billion euros, after suffering losses due to Covid-19 measures. The condition attached to this was that the national airline had to become more ‘environmentally aware’. For example, the ‘pandemic’ and the ‘climate crisis’ seem to be perfectly related as chronological parts of the great reset agenda.
French Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne said at the time that “we have asked Air France to accelerate the environmental transition”, which affects up to 40% of flights with a rail connection of less than 2 or 2.5 hours. The French government has asked other airlines to do the same, noting that the lack of Air France flights allowed low-cost airlines to offer the same flights. Borne: “If we ask things from Air France, the result should not be that cheap companies can fill this gap and offer their own service.”
One ‘disadvantage’ cited by environmental groups is that the ban only applies to local traffic and not to flights connected to international flights. The implication here is that the question is how much of the estimated 12% reduction on short-haul flights will actually be achieved.
This is because the government still needs to allow Air France flights to compete with international flights through Paris from cities like Lyon abroad, so customers don’t choose London or Amsterdam as their hubs instead.
Other EU countries are also introducing similar ‘environmental incentives’ to ‘reduce CO2 emissions from domestic travel’. For example, the Austrian government has included a similar condition during the rescue operation of Austrian Airlines, which requires domestic flights to be canceled if an alternative train journey of less than three hours is possible, such as between Vienna and Salzburg.
Greenpeace is calling for a ban on short flights if there is a train alternative of less than six hours, CNN Traveler reports. Greenpeace says this would affect a third of Europe’s busiest short-haul flights and eliminate 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.