France Bans Short-Haul Flights: Decrees Travelers Must Catch a Train Instead

SIMON KENT 23 May 2023

The French government published a decree Tuesday banning domestic commercial airline flights for journeys possible in less than two-and-a-half hours by train.

AFP reports although the move was first included in a 2021 climate law and applied in practice, the Union of French Airports (UAF) as well as the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe) sought European Commission action to investigate whether it was legal.

It has now been passed into law.

The legislation does specify 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 — and able to absorb the increase in passenger numbers, according to AFP.

The change will mostly impact travel between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux, with connecting flights unaffected, as the French government continues to seek  to flaunt its “green” credentials.

Critics have noted the cutoff point for comparable train journeys is shy of the roughly three hours it takes to travel from Paris to Mediterranean port city Marseille by high-speed rail.

As Breitbart London reported, the move was first flagged last December when the French government praised itself as a green “pioneer” after it got permission from the European Union (E.U.) to ban domestic short-haul flights.

French Junior Minister for Transport Clement Beaune said he was “proud that France is a pioneer in this area,” adding “[This] is a major step forward in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Transport Minister Clement Beaune has expressed pride at France’s move to shut down internal airline travel on routes of less than 2.5 hours (LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty)

The framework used by France to ban the first three routes are also available to the governments of all E.U. members, so more may follow across the continent in time, as reported by Breitbart London.

The French ban on domestic commercial short-haul flights will be valid for three years after which it will be re-assessed

No comparable decree for elite private jet travel on the same routes has yet been issued.


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