France has banned some short haul flights and encouraged travelers to take trains. Under the new law, flights under two and a half hours that can be replaced by a train journey must be canceled.
The short haul flights ban law was passed on Tuesday. However, France’s national airline has canceled three routes deemed to be consuming too high carbon emissions. All three routes depart from Orly airport, which serves the cities of Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes.
The three cities are all on the country’s extensive high-speed rail network and getting on the train is also much quicker than flying there. Air France carrier agreed to discontinue the direct route in exchange for government coronavirus financial assistance in 2020.
On the other hand, critics say banning these trips will only have minimal effects. While the ban sounds like a great idea to help fight climate change, it actually has a number of caveats that severely limit its scope.
Alternate train services must be frequent, punctual, and allow passengers to get to and from their starting point on the same day while allowing them a full eight hours at their destination.
Laurent Donceel, interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe, which represents airlines including Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Ryanair, dismissed the law as a “symbolic ban”. He told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the government should support “real and significant solutions” to airline emissions.