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France to ban short domestic flights to reduce climate emissions

France to ban short domestic flights to reduce climate emissions

France to ban short domestic flights to reduce climate emissions

Train rides lasting less than two and a half hours will replace flights

On Saturday, 10 April 2021, France passed a new bill that would replace some short-distance domestic flights with trains. The new law will help France reach its climate goals.

According to the bill, flights will be prohibited only if there are many regular direct trains available for the same journey and the train ride can be completed in less than two and a half hours. So far, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari has only listed three lines that will be closed, all of which serve Orly Airport, south of Paris:

  • Paris Orly-Lyon
  • Paris Orly-Bordeaux
  • Paris Orly-Nantes

The full information will be revealed in a coming government decree, but longer flights such as Paris-Nice (six hours by train), Paris-Toulouse, and Paris-Marseille (both four hours by train) will remain operational. However, the government will be able to scrap additional routes by order, according to the draft legislation.

The goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030

The full bill intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on various aspects of everyday life, such as travel, work, housing, and agriculture and is designed to assist the French government in meeting its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

The legislation has sparked debate and intense criticism from environmentalists as well as the airline industry. One of the problems with this new law is that it could result in higher unemployment rates.

According to airline representatives, the pandemic period, which has caused financial difficulties for their industry, is the wrong time to enact laws that would threaten their revenues. However, the government stated that reducing travelling was a critical move toward meeting France's climate targets.

The French government has agreed with Air France for up to €4 billion in emergency assistance, despite the fact that the airline's losses are expected to be €7.1 billion in 2020. Air France agreed to reduce short-haul flights as part of the agreement in order to receive this economic assistance package.

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