France has banned short internal flights: why they promote the use of trains and what are the exceptions

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France this week banned internal flights that have an alternative train of less than two and a half hours. The measure was provided for by the Climate Law passed in 2021but quickly entered a court labyrinth. On the other hand, the replacement of transport with the railway network French, probably less polluting.

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Even though the private sector has warned that it has been opened up “Pandora’s box“, for now the effect of the rule is very limited by the authorization of the multiple exceptions, obtained by the airlines, through the courts.

The prohibition, that entered into force this Tuesday, does not affect connecting flights, applies to journeys between the same cities as the flights and which allow the presence at the destination for more than eight hours a day. In practice, the flights that meet the requirements of the decree are those that connect Paris with medium cities AS nantes (west), lions (this) or Bordeauxs (southwest).

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The law was partially suspended while the European Commission considered an asset of the aviation sector after the enactment of the Climate Law on August 22, 2021. In practice, before this week it was already applied because the government forced Air France to give up these flights in exchange for financial aid in May 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Why the ban on domestic flights in France still ‘has no impact’

The main airline organization A4E, representing groups such as IAG extension (British Airways, Iberia…), KLM or Ryanairreiterated on Tuesday that it is a “symbolic” prohibition.. Governments must support “real and important solutions” to decarbonise aviation, the organization stressed, recalling that this sector is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Now it has no impact”, acknowledged, for his part, the general delegate of the Union of French Airports (UAF), Nicolas Paulissen. He specified that the only three lines affected directly they disappeared with the covid pandemic crisis in early 2020 and has not resumed.

These are the connections operated by the Air France company between the Parisian airport of Orly and the cities of Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes. The most important was that of Orly-Bordeaux, which had 566,000 passengers in 2019the last full year of activity.

An Air France spokesman confirmed that routes that the airline operates from its other Paris airport, Charles de Gaulle, will not be affected by the rule, which formally came into force on Tuesday.

The reason is that the decree, approved under the French climate law and whose objective is to save on polluting emissions into the atmosphere, states that the alternative of two and a half hours by trainit must be at Charles de Gaulle train station, and not as far as Paris.

Thus, Air France can continue to feed from its Charles de Gaulle platform with passengers arriving from different destinations in France European and intercontinental lines.

Nor are the lines from Orly, such as Paris-Nice, Paris-Toulouse or Paris-Marseille, threatened, since in all these cases the alternative train journey is more than three hours.

The judicial labyrinth of the law and the controversial journey of Messi and Mbappé

The pressure is mounting in Europe to fight against climate change and the the carbon footprint of transportation is in the spotlighthence the controversy.

The section on domestic flights included in the French climate law entered a judicial maze soon after its approval by the French Assembly.

The Union of French Airports appealed the ban to the European Commissionwho did not agree with him and allowed the decree to be published.

A publication that has been congratulated by the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, who on his Twitter account he boasted that France was innovative to an extent that justified the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are theIt’s our first time doing it“, said the minister, after recalling that he had promised to “ban airlines in the event of an alternative (by train) of less than two and a half hours”.

After the setback by the European Commission, the UAF appealed to the State Councilalbeit with formal arguments: the government decree is based on a rule that allows the imposition of a transport ban for a maximum period of three years if justified by specific reasons for contaminationNO.

For French airports, the aim of the flight restriction is to reduce the emissions that cause global warminghim, and that it is not a temporary problem It will disappear in three years.

But beyond the now zero impact of the ban, the UAF is restless because he believes that “Pandora’s box has been opened”. They believe that in the future such a ban could be imposed on European lines where there is a alternative train, for example in the Paris-Barcelona corridorTO.

In addition to commercial airlines, the strongest controversy concerns private jets.

One of the last such incidents occurred in September 2022, when Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and other stars of psg they were criticized for flying to Nantes to play, instead of a journey of about two hours by train.

The reaction of the coach Christophe Galtier and the superstar Mbappé did not serve to appease the criticisms: the DT made fun of the subject and assured that they would ask if they would be able to make the away games “in a sailing machine”while the striker of the gala team laughed.


Source: Clarin

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