The French government published a decree Tuesday banning domestic commercial airline flights for journeys possible in less than two-and-a-half hours by train.
AFP reports although the move was first included in a 2021 climate law and applied in practice, the Union of French Airports (UAF) as well as the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe) sought European Commission action to investigate whether it was legal.
It has now been passed into law.
The legislation does specify train services on the same route must be frequent, timely and well-connected enough to meet the needs of passengers who would otherwise travel by air — and able to absorb the increase in passenger numbers, according to AFP.
The change will largely influence travel between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux, with connecting flights not being affected, as the French government continues to pursue to advertise its “green” credentials.
France bans short-haul domestic flights in bid to reduce carbon emissions
➡️ https://t.co/hcPc6Z0Ikc pic.twitter.com/GT0cwQD4i4
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) May 23, 2023
Critics have recognized the cutoff point for similar train journeys is shy of the approximately three hours it takes to travel from Paris to Mediterranean port city Marseille by high-speed rail.
As Breitbart London reported, the move was first flagged last December when the French government praised itself as a green “pioneer” after it got permission from the European Union (E.U.) to ban domestic short-haul flights.
French Junior Minister for Transport Clement Beaune said he was “proud that France is a pioneer in this area,” adding “[This] is a major step forward in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The foundation used by France to ban the first three routes are also accessible to the governments of all E.U. members, so more may follow across the continent in time, as reported by Breitbart London.
The French ban on domestic commercial short-haul flights will be confirmed for three years after which it will be reconsidered.
No equivalent mandate for elite private jet travel on the same routes has yet been issued.