France’s ban on short haul domestic flights has finally entered into force in the morning of 23 May, the country’s Transport Minister Clément Beaune announced on twitter. The government decree, with immediate effect, essentially bans any domestic flights where a train connection of less than two and a half hours exists. Only routes between Paris-Orly, Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux are currently foreseen in the decree.
As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify tsking the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train?Clément Beaune, French Minister of Transport
“Achieving carbon neutrality means strongly stepping up our action in terms of decarbonizing transport, which still accounts for 30% of emissions. As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify taking the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train? This is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This measure is a world first which is fully in line with the government’s policy of encouraging the use of modes of transport that emit less greenhouse gases”, Beaune said in a statement congratulating the adoption of the decree.
The move is part of France’s 2021 Climate Law, but the legislation was initially contested by the country’s Union of Airports (UAF) and the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe), causing a referral to the European Commission, which gave the green light for the ban in December last year.
After the commission’s approval, the degree opened for public consultation, then it was subjected to the opinion of the Council of State, finally being published and entering into force Tuesday morning.
In addition to the short-haul flight bam, France is also working on heavily reducing private flights, since the country has the highest number of private jets in Europe, loaded by frequent trips between Paris and the French Riviera. Research by environmental campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) found that ten percent of 2019 departures were by private jets and half of those were journeys of less than 300 miles.
Defending the new short-haul rules, transport minister Clément Beaune was reported as saying the country could no longer tolerate the super-rich using private planes while the public are making cutbacks to deal with the energy crisis and climate change. He said he was “proud that France is a pioneer in this area” and hailed the decision as “a major step forward in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”