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France bans domestic flights for short distances in favor of the train. Ok from EU

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The changes are part of the European Union’s 2021 Climate Law and were first proposed by the French Citizens’ Convention on Climate, a citizens’ assembly charged with finding ways to reduce the country’s carbon emissions. According to France, the decision will lead to a total saving of 55 thousand tons of CO2 emissions.

 

However, ‘only’ three French routes have been canceled, compared to the eight proposed in 2021:  Orly-Bordeaux,  Orly-Nantes,  Orly-Lyon. The initiative cannot include other sections, because: “The negative effects of any restriction of traffic rights on citizens and on European connectivity must be compensated for by the availability of alternative modes of transport at affordable prices, which are convenient and more sustainable”, reads the executive decision. An article of the European Regulation on air services, in fact, establishes that a Member State may, “in the presence of serious environmental problems […] limit or refuse the exercise of traffic rights, in particular when other modes of transport provide a satisfactory service “.

The EU executive stated that France is entitled to introduce the measure on condition that it is “non-discriminatory, does not distort competition between air carriers and is not more restrictive than necessary to solve the problem”. Three more routes could be added – between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon and Rennes, and between Lyon and Marseille – if rail services improve. Currently these routes do not meet the threshold because travelers trying to get to Paris and Lyon airports do not have a rail connection to get them there early enough in the morning or late enough in the evening.

The Commission gave its approval on Friday although the ban on short-haul flights will be valid for three years, after which it will have to be re- evaluated by the Commission.

 

France is also widening the scope on the use of private jets for short trips, in an effort to make transport greener and fairer for the population. Transport Minister Clément Beaune said the country could no longer tolerate the super rich using private planes while citizens make cuts to tackle the energy crisis and climate change.

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  • COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (Decision document of the European Commission)
  • EU approves France’s short-haul flight ban — but only for 3 routes. (politico.eu)
 

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