France will ban short domestic flights that can be replaced by a train journey

It is definitive: France may ban short-haul domestic flights. And it will be so because this measure, framed in its Climate Law, has received the approval by the European Commission (EC).

This step is important because it could open the door for other European countries to implement similar measures regarding their air transport, as is the case in Spain. But also because it means looking beyond the car when it comes to limiting transport to save emissions into the atmosphere.

And it is that, despite being a collective medium, the plane is the most polluting medium. Or at least he thinks so the European Environment Agency: per passenger and kilometer, by plane, emissions are set at 285 g/CO₂. Much higher than that of a car that does the same at 104 g/CO₂ in the same terms.

Only three routes meet the requirements set by Brussels

Commercial plane

Although this measure was included in the French climate regulations in the summer of last year, it was being analyzed by the ECwhich had to determine whether or not it was lawful to apply this pioneering restriction in the Old Continent.

The resolution was published last Thursday, December 1, although it imposes certain limitations on this restriction that will be implemented in our neighboring country soon. “That it is not discriminatory, does not distort competition between airlines and is not more restrictive than necessary.” Although there is more.

For short trips, with the same route by train and for three years. In the EC resolution, the measure is validated in accordance with the European Air Services Regulation, where member states are allowed to “limit or deny the exercise of traffic rights” for “environmental reasons as long as there are other means of transport as an alternative.”

It is the first time that a member state has appealed to said article, since precisely the French legislation was based on eliminate these national routes when said route had train services that cover it It must be taken into account that the train is the most respectful collective means, at least in terms of emissions into the atmosphere.

This has been key to receiving the ok from Brussels, despite having the airline sector against it. This measure was appealed by the Union of French Airports (UAF), as well as by the European branch of Airports Council International (ACI Europe). Hence, the EC submitted it for review.

Likewise, as was also included in the French regulations, it can only be applied when the train journey is less than two and a half hours. However, it is added that these routes must be direct, without connections, and have several routes per day.

Finally, the community body points out that the measure can be applied for three yearsat which time the impact of the measure will be analysed.

Commercial plane

Only three routes will be removed, for now. With the limitations set out from Brussels, there are only three air routes that meet these requirements, all departing from Paris from Paris-Orly airport, as stated in this same text.

  • Paris-Orly – Bordeaux.
  • Paris-Orly – Nantes.
  • Paris-Orly – Lyon.

In the first instance, the gala regulation had contemplated up to eight. However, if rail routes are improved, there could be more.

In this way, more routes could be added: for example between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Rennes. But also for other cities such as between Lyon and Marseille.

These now do not meet the criteria, either because they do not have enough frequency on the train alternative or because the train journey exceeds two and a half hours. That is why ecologists have positively assessed the measure, but point out that it is insufficient, as is the case of Greenpeace France.

When will the routes be removed? There is still no scheduled date for the application of the measure. It must be taken into account that they must be submitted to public consultation, in addition to being reviewed by the Council of State.

Be that as it may, according to EuronewsClément Beaune, French Transport Minister, has indicated that it will be implemented “as soon as possible”.

Will other European countries follow in France’s footsteps? It is early to say, but this possibility has already been raised for Spain by the Government and in the same terms, precisely looking askance at French regulations: that flights that can be carried out by train in less than 2.5 hours are prohibited.

After the trial balloon, from the air sector pointed out that this measure would have a great economic impact, but it would be almost anecdotal from an environmental point of view: it would affect five connections, which would only translate into a saving of 0.9% of the total emissions generated by air traffic in Spain.

However, if train connections are improved, they could apply to more. And the Executive has already made it clear that it seeks to encourage public transport with priority for the train. Hence the free train passes for short and medium distance, which will be extended throughout 2023.

private jet

And what about private jets? This summer, France announced that it was working on a regulation for private flights with the intention of limiting them quite a bit.

Among the proposed measures we find, for example, that this type of private flight be made public and that it be accredited and demonstrated that said journey cannot be made by other means. An increase in taxes for these travelers has also been assessed.

According to Eurocontrol data collected by Le Figaro, private business flights today account for 12% of air transport in Europe. Almost double compared to 2019.

And it is that on many occasions, practices of millionaires with their private planes have been denounced. This is the case of Kylie Jenner who used her jet for a 12-minute flight. The nearly 117,000 euros spent on fuel has also been highly criticized from environmental organizations. in two months by Steven Spielberg’s jet.

However, the complete veto seems complicated: Olivier Véran, government spokesman, has indicated that “it is not about prohibiting them” but he has reiterated that “the French should not have to feel that they are always being asked to make efforts “.

It is striking that France’s measures go in dissonant directions. For example, they have also recently considered limiting aid for electric cars by linking them to household income or lowering their amount. But of course, in this case we are talking about the much persecuted private transport.


Source: Motorpasión by www.motorpasion.com.

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