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Short haul domestic flights to be banned in France

The European Commission has agreed to France’s plan to ban short-haul flights between cities where an alternative rail route is available.

Policymakers voted in favor of the landmark decision in 2021, with plans to prohibit flights along eight routes across the country, subject to the EU’s approval.

However, the policy will now just affect three routes, after the Commission said the ban could only occur where efficient rail routes with multiple connections were available.

Flights between Paris-Orly and Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon will fall under this, with routes between Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon and Rennes, and between Lyon and Marseille set to be added if rail services improve.

Eiffel Tower at Paris, France

Two other routes, from Paris de Gaulle to Bordeaux and Nates, were removed from the policy, as the EU said the train journeys did not meet the two-and-a-half-hour threshold.

French Transport Minister Clément Beaune called it a ‘major step forward’ and said the country was proud to be progressive on this.

The decision was made on Friday, with the ban set to be in place for three years and then reassessed by the Commission.

Thomas Gelin, Greenpeace’s EU climate campaigner, told Politico: ‘The French ban on short-haul flights where quick train connections exist is a baby step, but it’s one in the right direction.’

Private jets are also set to be tackled in France, with a proposed bill which would impose higher tax rates on private jets from 2023.

A report from NGO Transport and Environment (T&E) found that private jets are up to 14 times more polluting than commercial flights per passenger mile, and 50 times worse than trains.

The country sees some of the highest numbers of private jets in Europe, as research shows a tenth of all departure flights in 2019 were by private jets, with half travelling less than 300 miles.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX

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