France Is Banning Some Short-Haul Domestic Flights

If you can get to your destination by train in under two-and-a-half hours, France doesn't want you flying.

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French officials are on track to make drastic changes in an effort to cut the country’s carbon emissions, especially with the country’s well-developed rail infrastructure. After first considering it in 2021, France has announced that domestic flights that can be reached by train in 2.5 hours or less will be banned in the country.

The move to ban the flights is a long time coming. It was first proposed by the country’s Convention on Climate - a group made up of French citizens who work to find ways to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. This idea made its way to the French Parliament where it was voted on and implemented in the 2021 Climate Law which would see France achieve a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by ‘30.

Although the ban will come into effect, it’ll be slow to implement and start small first. Initially, only routes between Paris’ Orly airport and Nates, Lyon, and Bordeaux will be banned. All of these cities have rail routes that connect them. As the country’s rail infrastructure improves, more bans between cities will come into effect. Cities and routes that have more than 2.5 hours of travel time between them aren’t part of the ban. Yet. Via The Telegraph:

Some European lawmakers hope the law will expand to routes across the continent as new high-speed rail lines, as part of the EU’s TEN-T project, are being constructed.

While the current rail journey between Paris and Milan, for example, takes more than 7 hours, the opening of the new 36-mile-long Mont Cenis Base Tunnel will cut the journey time in half.

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The ban was initially met with pushback by the airline industry, specifically the Union of French Airports and the European branch of the Airports Council International. This caused an investigation by the European Commission into whether or not the ban could be implemented.

Interestingly, the ban doesn’t seem to affect private jets even though data shows that France has the highest number of private jet travel on the whole continent.