The French government has finally decided to ban short-haul domestic flights, especially when there are train alternatives available with a travel time of less than 2.5 hours, as established in a decree published in the Journal Officiel of the country.
This measure, which has been under analysis since 2021, aims to reduce air pollution by eliminating unnecessary flights, primarily affecting routes between Paris and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux.
However, flights that have connections with these destinations will still be allowed to operate. The new law also aligns with the French government's plans to achieve "carbon neutrality" and "decarbonize travel."
French Transport Minister Clément Beaune announced the publication of the decree on May 23, 2023, and stated that it went into effect immediately.
Following the agreement of the European Commission, public consultation, and the opinion of the Council of State, the publication of the decree is the final step for the law to come into force.
"Reaching carbon neutrality means intensifying our efforts to decarbonize transportation, which still accounts for 30% of emissions; this is an essential step and a strong symbol in the greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy," stated Beaune.
The acting head of the industrial group Airlines for Europe (A4E), Laurent Donceel, described the new law as a "symbolic ban," as it will only have minimal effects.
For the ban to apply, the European Union insisted that the air route in question must have a high-speed rail alternative that allows travel between the two cities in less than two and a half hours; there must also be sufficient trains operating during peak hours to allow travelers to spend at least eight hours at the destination, according to information from AFP, CNN, Motorpasion, and Aerotime.
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