Facing turbulence: French short-haul flight ban comes into effect dividing the public

french climate activists after a meeting

The French Citizen’s Climate Convention influenced the law. Photo credit: Convention citoyenne pour le climat

IN a bid to slash carbon dioxide emissions, French authorities announced that a law banning short-haul flights came into effect on Wednesday, May 24. 

The law, created two years ago prohibits passengers from taking flights if the same journey could be made by train in less than two and a half hours. Effectively, this means that air travel between Paris and several cities including Lyon, Nantes, and Bordeaux.

The domestic flight ban then received backing from the European Union in 2022.

The law is divisive among the public and with airline representatives. Some airline representatives including Laurent Donceel, the interim president of the Airlines for Europe group, who said that the move will have “minimal effects” on overall carbon dioxide emissions.

Other consumer groups are urging the government to introduce measures to prevent train services from taking advantage of the law by putting prices up.

The law is unpopular with the sector which was hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with flights only returning to 42 per cent of their 2019 rates according to flight portal, Flight Radar.

The French Citizen’s Climate Convention, which was created by President Macron in 2019 inspired the law, initially aiming to ban flights where a train journey of up to four hours could replace it. This was scrapped due to backlash from several airlines.

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