Having already banned domestic flights of under 2½ hours when there’s a train or bus covering the same route, France now hopes to wipe out low-cost airfares – and not just within its own borders, but right across the EU.
In an interview with influential French news magazine L’Obs, transport minister Clément Beaune said that tickets costing as little as €10 were no longer feasible in a time of “environmental crisis”.
Beaune suggests those should be replaced by a Government-mandated “minimum air ticket price” applying to all flights across the EU’s 27 member countries to “fight against social and environmental dumping.”
Also on Beaune’s green agenda is a higher ‘aviation tax’ for all airlines and even more so on private jets.
As previously reported, Beaune earlier this year brought into law France’s controversial ban on flights from Paris to the likes of Bordeaux and Lyon, which are connected by high-speed trains.
“As we fight relentlessly to decarbonise our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train?” he posed at the time.
However, the success of fast rail as an alternative to air travel needs not only an investment in infrastructure but a concerted effort to bring down train fares, with Greenpeace claiming that rail travel within Europe is often anywhere from two to four times the cost of flying.