France has banned domestic commercial short-haul flights for journeys possible in less than two-and-a-half hours by train but has made the same rule for private jets.
Breitbart notes that no comparable decree for elite private jet travel on the same routes has yet been issued.
While the move was first included in a 2021 climate law, the Union of French Airports (UAF) and the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe) sought European Commission action to investigate whether it was legal.
It has now been passed into law.
According to the new legislation, train services on the same route must be timely and well-connected enough to meet the needs of travelers who would otherwise travel by air.
The new law will impact travel between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux as the French government continues to seek to fight “climate change.”
Critics of the new law note that the cutoff point for comparable train journeys falls short of the roughly three hours it takes to travel from Paris to the Mediterranean port city of Marseille by high-speed rail.
“No one will be fooled by this measure: passengers are naturally turning away from taking flights on these routes,” Guillaume Schmid, former vice president of Air France’s pilots’ union, tweeted.
“The French flight ban is a symbolic move, but will have very little impact on reducing emissions,” said Jo Dardenne, an aviation director at cleaner transport campaign group Transport & Environment.
The move was first reported last year in December as Macron’s France began to flex itself as the green “pioneer” after being given permission from the European Union (E.U.) to ban domestic short-haul flights.
French Junior Minister for Transport Clement Beaune said he was “proud that France is a pioneer in this area,” adding, “[This] is a major step forward in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The ban on domestic, commercial short-haul flights will be valid for three years before being re-assessed.
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