France to ban short domestic flights that can be replaced by trains
French MPs voted on Monday to ban short domestic flights that can be replaced by train journeys lasting two and a half hours or less.
Members of Parliament voted in favour of the green legislation despite it being a watered down version of the measure agreed by President Emmanuel Macron’s citizens' climate convention.
The original proposal was to scrap all domestic flights that could be replaced by train journeys completed in six hours or less.
Nonetheless, some of the country’s regions had opposed the original measure, together with airline Air France-KLM which was already struggling with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel sector.
CEO Benjamin Smith recently said that the company was aiming for a 40% reduction of French national routes for 2021.
Details of the exact routes to be axed would be published in the official government decree.
Transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, told MPs: “We have chosen two and a half hours because four hours risks isolating landlocked territories including the greater Massif Central, which would be iniquitous.”
France could set an example for other EU countries such as The Netherlands, which has been trying to ban short domestic flights since 2013.
Austria already introduced last June a €30 tax on airline tickets for flights of less than 350km and a ban on domestic flights that could be travelled in less than three hours by train.