Next time you visit France you could be forced to take the train or bus on short journeys as the country outlaws short range domestic flights.
Coming into effect this month, the rule applies to all air routes where a train or bus alternative of less than 2.5 hours exists.
Flights from Paris Orly to Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon will all be shelved, although short-range domestic flights through Paris Charles de Gaulle which continue to an overseas destination won’t be affected if they form part of the same international service.
It’s expected up to 12% of the country’s domestic routes will be culled under the ban, devised in 2021 as part of the French government’s €4 billion rescue package for Air France after it reported staggering losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plan initially proposed banning trips of four hours by air, however this was reduced after objections from Air France-KLM and representatives of affected regions.
However, environmental groups are now pushing for the flight ban to go further, with Greenpeace saying it should extend to six hours where a train alternative is available.
The Austrian government is considering a similar step as part of a recent bailout of Austrian Airlines, suggesting that domestic flights be axed where a train ride of up to three hours is available, such as between Vienna and Salzburg.
It’s estimated that 80% of short-range flights in Austria could be replaced by trips on the country’s sprawling OBB state rail network.
Research into carbon output suggests taking an electric train instead of a domestic flight would reduce an individual’s environmental footprint by 84%.
The same study found emissions per kilometre on a domestic trip in Europe are up to 70% higher than international long-range flights and six times higher than making the same trip by train.