France gains EU approval for domestic flight ban

Paris Orly Airport

Paris Orly Airport Credit: Olivier Cabaret CC

FRANCE gains EU approval for domestic flight ban which it has been trying to do since 2020 when it helped to bail out Air France with a huge loan as reported in

Since that time and despite strong opposition from other airlines and airport operators, Air France ceased operating flights from Paris to some French airports.

Although the French Government wanted to stop flights to eight domestic destinations, the European Commission has only confirmed that the ban could take place for flights from Pars Orly, to Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes and will be reviewed in two years as the ban has effectively been in operation for one year already.

The criteria used by the European Commission is that passengers must be able to have an affordable alternative rail option with similar capacity and journey time should be no more than two and a half hours.

Other airlines will have to follow suit as and when the official ban is put in place, but at the moment there will be no effect on existing flights out of Charles de Gaulle airport as rail journeys currently exceed the journey time limit.

In 2021, Greenpeace activists broke into Charles de Gaulle airport and painted their name onto an Air France aircraft parked up due to the pandemic and France has generally been in the forefront of EU member states looking to reduce pollution due to air travel.

Interestingly however, although the country has a significant number of private business jets, they will not currently be affected as they are considered vital for the French economy, although unnecessary use of the aircraft may be discouraged with the imposition of higher taxes.

Whether any other EU member is likely to follow suit is not known, but in the case of Spain and Balearics for example, important subsidies exist in order to ensure that residents have affordable access to the other islands and the mainland.

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