The French government officially published a decree on Monday that bars airlines from operating domestic flights on routes that could instead be taken by train. The law has been years in the making and has faced several hurdles but it eventually took effect on Tuesday, 23rd March.
Specifically, the decree bars domestic airline flights when there is an alternative train journey that will take two and a half hours or less. The train journey must serve the same cities as the airports concerned on a high-speed TGV rail service with no changes required.
In addition, the train replacement must be sufficient, and the destinations must be served by at least several daily rail services. The ban will have an immediate effect on domestic air services between Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris-Orly.
“Achieving carbon neutrality means greatly strengthening our action on the decarbonization of transport, which still accounts for 30% of emissions,” commented Transport Minister Clément Beaune on Tuesday.
“While we fight tirelessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between major cities that benefit from regular, fast and efficient train connections?”
“This measure is a global first that is fully in line with the Government’s policy to encourage the use of modes of transport that emit less greenhouse gases,” Beaune continued.
The final decree was based on feedback from a public consultation that ended earlier this year. The decree also had to fit around concerns raised by the European Commission about air connectivity services across the bloc.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.