Some domestic flights originating at Orly Airport in Paris would cease to be offered, Source: Depositphotos

France takes first step to banning domestic flights

France takes first step to banning domestic flights

The pioneering green move would make the country the first in Europe to do so

France will likely become the first EU country to ban short-haul domestic flights in its airspace after the European Commission ruled out at the end of last week that this would be permitted according to regulations. The reasoning behind the initiative, also supported by environmental organizations, is that air travel is highly polluting and given the country’s good network of high-speed trains, there’s no need to produce emissions that could be avoided.

It is not quite clear when the ban on domestic flights would be implemented but the expectations are that it will become reality in the very near future.

Take the train, ditch the plane

Even when it comes into force the prohibition, like many new things, would be somewhat limited in scope. The idea is that flights will be redundant for destinations that could be reached in 2.5 hours or less by train. Also, the ban would initially be of a temporary nature, with a duration of three years.

Initially, only routes between Paris’ Orly airport and Nates, Lyon, and Bordeaux will be banned. All of these cities have rail routes that connect them. As the country’s rail infrastructure improves, more bans between cities will come into effect.

Cities and routes that have more than 2.5 hours of travel time between them aren’t part of the ban. In fact, even other trains to these cities departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport would fall above the 2.5-hour limit and thus the domestic flights there will remain.

Although the idea has been on the table since the adoption of France’s 2021 Climate Law, it was initially met with pushback by the airline industry, specifically the Union of French Airports and the European branch of the Airports Council International. This caused an investigation by the European Commission into whether or not the ban could be implemented.

France also has a high rate of private jet flights in the country, which places it the as the worst in Europe in that regard. The ban, however, wouldn’t apply to those, as they are considered to be essential for the running of the national economy. Still, businessmen and large corporations using them will likely face higher taxes and requirements on usage transparency reports.



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