France bans short-range domestic flights

The decision aims to slash carbon emissions on routes that can be served by bus or train in under 2.5 hours.

By Matt Lennon, April 5 2022
France bans short-range domestic flights

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.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 422

I can understand why.that's a part of the world which has some of the best trains in the world.while in Australia what takes about an hour or 80 minutes flying takes half a day by train.

06 Sep 2019

Total posts 19

It seems a sensible move provided there are decent alternatives but it can't be good for the viability of the smaller airports.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 350

Ahh the woke left/green movement at it again trying to dictate peoples lives.

17 Sep 2019

Total posts 1

France has a centrist government. Reducing emissions isn't a left or right wing thing, it's a sensible thing. Get with the times.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 350

Did I say reducing emissions was a bad thing? NO!! 

I said, I am sick of Governments and certain 'groups' trying to dictate to people how they should live there lives. If the train works for some and not others, that's called freedom of choice. 

But if this was left up to 'the free market' there would be no real pressure to take the action which most people agree is necessary to curb emissions and reduce global warming. The Government doesn't have to do this through prohibitive actions, it can also help by offering incentives and make-good funding, but if the Government doesn't step in and simply lets 'the market' do what it wants then 'the market' will largely do whatever is cheapest to delivery and maximises their own profits at the expense of the individual, even their own customers, as well as the community.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 350

It’s a shame the travelling public are dictated by certain groups on the best mode of transportation they should take.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1103

It is hard to think of a route in Australia that would be affected by a similar restriction.  Sydney-Canberra and Sydney-Orange are both currently over 4 hours on a train.  Maybe if we one day get a fast train service somewhere, though our population density makes that a difficult economic proposition but I guess SYD-CBR would be the most likely starter, it would have some effect.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 121

So with one stroke of a pen competition between transport modes is almost eliminated. The train operators must be rubbing their hands and getting ready to increase prices.

Is there any hard evidence that trains have a lesser overall environmental impact than planes for the city pairs impacted?

30 May 2018

Total posts 30

I live in Paris. 90% of electricity in France is nuclear and the rest mainly hydro and wind. Trips by TGV have a close to zero carbon footprint.  How’s that for a positive impact?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

Finally.  In a country with some of the best and most reliable high speed rail, this is environmentally, economically and socially one of the best decisions made for travel.  The idea that you would be encouraged to spend an hour getting to the airport to fly for an hour before spending 30minutes getting out - such as Paris - Lyon rather than a train for 2 hours is absurd.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 2

When in Europe I take the train anyway if its less than 3 hrs.  Their rail system is so good and the time difference is minimal.

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 25

Answering parishilton’s rhetorical question, you bet there is.  As for Mightyreds’ comments - no comment.

I was part of a 5 year survey in the 1970s, (shortened to 4 years because of the overwhelming sense & support) for a high speed train service Brisbane-Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne, with a spur to Newcastle. An absolute no-brainer, canned by the no brain politicians.   

Why is Sydney-Melbourne one of the busiest air routes in the world if there isn’t a demand?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

The issue is not so much demand, but the infrastructure cost, for the (comparatively) small number of passengers who would use it.

07 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

This story did not clarify whether private jet travel between the cities is still allowed. If it has not been banned, then then entire scheme is discriminatory and dishonest. Hypocrites.


23 Feb 2017

Total posts 14

Out of curiosity, I had a look at trains from Vienna to Salzburg tomorrow. There are three trains every hour, journey time 2hr 22, 2hr 28 and 2hr 53, the differences being due to the stopping pattern. Private operator Westbahn has a fare of just over 27 euro available on every service (cheaper off-peak). Of course, if you live in Austria you'd be mad not to have a KlimaTicket (climate ticket) - 1095 euro for 1 year of unlimited public transport (all modes) throughout the country. If you are cashed up and want to travel a class higher, the other two services each hour are three class Railjets run by the state operator OeBB. The Business Class on these is superb (as is the Gruner Veltliner). Restaurant car available to all, at seat service in First and Business. And for those arriving long-haul at VIE, one of the Railjets starts back at the airport. Reservations possible, but not compulsory on all services so you can turn up and go. Who'd fly? RC   

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 97

We’ll that’s a bummer if you often have connections to long international flights.

But for those who have a short trip entirely within France?… little change. City or town centre to city centre is a no brainer.

I’ll vote for the next polli to get up and say that they definitely will get a MEL-CBR-SYD fast train on the cards. I’ll even volunteer to help their campaign if the commit to nuclear.

I must add though, what a pity the government had to make this decision for the people. Surely “the market” had done for them. I’m not a fan of market interference.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 23

Another woke gone to far movement what these people don’t understand is is all of this has a flow on affect for business travel etc. The left extremists still want to use mobile phones and internet ( which is powered by mining)but they don’t want people to travel 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on France bans short-range domestic flights