April 13, 2021 1:37:27 pm
Following a plan to reduce aviation emissions, France is all set to ban short domestic flights in favour of train services.
French lawmakers voted over the weekend to suspend some flights by domestic airlines on routes that can be covered by trains in less than two and a half hours, the BBC reported. If the bill is passed in the Senate, France will join a number of European countries seeking to move away from short flights.
This comes at a time when there has been a strong demand in France to introduce stricter rules to cut down on emissions and tackle the problem of climate change.
Last year, a study led by Stefan Gössling, a professor at Sweden’s Linnaeus University, had found that frequent fliers representing just 1 oer cent of the world’s population accounted for more than half of total aviation emissions from passenger air travel in 2018.
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France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 public members, had earlier demanded that plane journeys on routes that can be covered by trains under four hours be scrapped.
Francois Pupponi, a member of the French National Assembly, had told Reuters, “The environmental choice must take precedence, but let’s not abandon the social and economic choices around industry and around airports – the two are complementary.”
French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir had called on lawmakers to retain the four-hour limit, the BBC report stated. “On average, the plane emits 77 times more CO2 per passenger than the train on these routes, even though the train is cheaper and the time lost is limited to 40 minutes,” it said.
The CNN reported that Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told lawmakers during the debate that a four-hour threshold “would have really impacted territories that need flights”.
“When there is a robust alternative, usually clients switch to trains,” he said, citing routes from Strasbourg and Bordeaux to Paris. “Each time high-speed lines have competed with flights, we have noticed that trains have largely drained (airline passengers),” he added.
Djebbari also said the bill would mean an end to flights from Orly Airport in Paris to Nantes and Lyon.
Last year, Austrian Airlines had replaced a flight route between the capital Vienna and Salzburg with a more frequent train service to cut down on its carbon footprint as a part of a government bailout package.
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