Train instead of a feeder flight: an ICE Sprinter in the long-distance train station at Frankfurt Airport
Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst / dpa
The railways and the aviation industry want to work better together so that almost every fifth German domestic flight becomes superfluous.
To this end, the rail network is also to be expanded.
Deutsche Bahn and the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry (BDL) have signed an action plan for this.
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With an optimal implementation, according to BDL calculations, around 4.3 million previous flight passengers could be brought onto the rails every year, announced those involved.
That would be around 18 percent of the domestic passenger volume of 23.9 million domestic passengers in 2019.
Eight million flight transfer passengers should use trains
This includes around eight million transfer passengers for international long-haul flights.
The BDL expects long-term air traffic on long domestic German connections with train travel times of more than three hours.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, flying is the most harmful option for the climate compared to other modes of transport such as rail, long-distance buses or cars.
While international flight connections are sometimes difficult to replace, this is comparatively easy to do within Germany by switching to rail - which is why domestic flights are particularly harmful to the climate.
Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn had already announced the expansion of their joint offer “Lufthansa Express Rail” in March, which will be expanded by five to 22 take-off stations.
These train connections have a Lufthansa flight number and are treated in the same way.
In the event of delays, passengers are automatically rebooked onto the next flight.
From December there will also be faster sprinter trains to the largest German airport, for example intermediate stops on some connections from Cologne, Munich and Nuremberg to Frankfurt airport are to be canceled, thus reducing travel times.
At Frankfurt Airport, the partners want to make the change easier for travelers with better routes, signs and easier baggage handling.
Munich airport without long-distance traffic connections
So far, five larger German airports (Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Cologne-Bonn and Leipzig-Halle) have been connected to local and long-distance rail transport.
Another seven can be reached by local trains, and Stuttgart Airport is also to be connected to long-distance traffic from December 2025.
The lack of long-distance transport connections at the second largest German airport in Munich is particularly painful.
A feasibility study is to examine variants of an additional connection there.
In France, politics goes a step further, where MPs voted to ban domestic flights to destinations that can be reached within two and a half hours by train.
Flights from Paris to Lyon or Bordeaux could soon be a thing of the past.
However, environmental activists accused French President Emmanuel Macron of watering down earlier promises.
For example, a citizens' climate forum set up by Macron called for the abolition of flights on routes on which the train journey takes less than four hours.
Such a regulation would also have affected flights from Paris to Marseille.
ene / dpa