They reveal the impact of the population on emissions from air travel (November 2020) 0:43
France is moving to ban short internal flights and promote train travel instead, after lawmakers approved a plan that will disrupt several air routes to cut emissions.
The deputies voted on Saturday in favor of suspending some airline flights within the country in cases where the trip can be made by train in less than two and a half hours.
The measure is part of a broader climate bill.
If the proposal passes the Senate, France will join a group of European countries seeking to limit short flights.
However, some have criticized President Emmanuel Macron for softening the proposals of his own panel on the environment.
It had recommended banning flights in cases where there were train trips of less than four hours.
Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said the government's proposal was reasonable.
During the debate, he stated that a four-hour threshold "would have really affected territories that need the flights."
"When there is a solid alternative, customers usually choose the train," he said, citing the routes from Strasbourg and Bordeaux to Paris.
"Every time high-speed lines have competed with flights, we have noticed that trains have drained a great deal (of airline passengers)," he said.
What routes will disappear?
Djebbari also said the bill would spell the end of flights from Orly airport in Paris to Nantes and Lyon.
However, the measures do not apply to routes that are usually part of a connecting international flight, which means that the capital's Charles de Gaulle airport, the country's main international transport hub, is largely outside the border. change.
Left-wing MP Danièle Obono said that the government's plan not to go within the four-hour limit "would save the three routes that emit the most greenhouse gases."
These are, he said, Paris-Nice, Paris-Toulouse and Paris-Marseille.
The four-hour proposal is from the panel of citizens of the Climate Convention, created by Macron to evaluate the positions in the country regarding measures to reduce emissions.
France is not the only one betting on limiting domestic flights
Several European countries have tried to promote train travel as an alternative to domestic flights.
And they have done so even as airlines are affected by the pandemic.
Last year, in Austria, the flag carrier was ordered to replace one of its flights with a more frequent train service, to meet the government's criteria for the rescue plan.
The 600 million euro ($ 714 million) government aid package for Austrian Airlines called for it to cut emissions from its domestic flights by 50% by 2050 and to end flights where a direct alternative by train would take "Considerably less than three hours."
In a similar move, the French government last year agreed to a 7 billion euro ($ 8.3 billion) bailout package for AirFrance that was tied to certain conditions.
One of them was the "drastic reduction of domestic flights, limited to transfers to hubs, as long as there is an alternative route by train that can be done in two and a half hours."