France Bans Domestic Flights Under Three Hours

France Bans Domestic Flights Under Three Hours

France has officially announced a ban on short-haul domestic flights which can be covered by rail alternatives after the European Commission approved a proposal from France late last year.

France Officially Bans Short-Haul Domestic Flights

Back in 2021, French lawmakers proposed and voted to prohibit short-haul domestic flights of two and a half hours or less if there are alternative rail connections. This is to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by 40% by 2030. The process took quite some time since then for the EU Commission to give the green light late last year.

As of May 23, 2023, the law finally came into effect as the French government published a decree that France will ban domestic flights for routes that can be covered by train in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

However, not all domestic routes will be affected by the new law but, flights from certain routes will be impacted. Based on the decree, the ban on domestic flights applies when the rail services provide a satisfactory alternative service. So the ban should not affect passengers who would otherwise use airplanes as a mode of transportation.

Clément Beaune, French transport minister, described the move:

“It is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The ban was a global first that is fully in line with the Government’s policy of encouraging the use of modes of transportation that emit fewer greenhouse gases.”

Clément Beaune, French transport minister

In the recent year, France has been putting drastic measures to cut back Carbon emissions by considering private jet restrictions and putting the world’s highest aviation eco-tax.

Which Domestic France Routes Are Affected?

While the word ‘Ban’ sounds harsh, it only affects well, 4.6% of the total domestic flights. There are around 108 domestic flights in France but only 5 of these routes will be impacted for now. These routes are:

  • Paris-Orly – Bordeaux
  • Paris-Orly – Nantes
  • Paris-Orly – Lyon
  • Paris-Orly – Rennes
  • Lyon – Marseille

As you can see, the reason Paris’s main airport the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is not affected is the law specifies a ban on flights flying primarily on domestic routes. So connecting flights are not impacted.

Since Charles de Gaulle Airport feeds international to domestic and domestic to international traffic, the short-haul domestic routes will still be operating. Furthermore, it is likely that Air France and other airlines to increase the frequency out of this airport due to the ban from Orly Airport.

Summary

On May 23, 2023, the French government published a decree to put a ban on domestic flights that can be replaced with rail services in under 2 hours and 30 minutes. The French government has been putting a lot of work to reduce greenhouse emissions and as a result, it has also doubled its stakes in the Air France-KLM group to up to 29%.

However, as of now out of 100 domestic routes, only five of them were banned so there will be minor interference.

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