France Is Banning Short Domestic Flights – In Favor Of Trains


The European Commission has accepted France’s plan to restrict short-haul flights when there is a viable train alternative. However, only three routes will be directly impacted, including those connecting Paris-Orly to Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon.

The approval is conditional on the ban only lasting three years. Since its passage last year, the restriction has faced staunch opposition from airlines, airports, and other aviation organizations.

France plans to restrict flights between cities that can be reached by train in less than two and a half hours as part of the country’s Climate Law. In addition, according to planners and legislators, new high-speed rail lines as part of the EU’s TEN-T initiative will eliminate many short-haul flights across Europe.

Traveling by train from Milan, Italy, to Paris today takes more than seven hours, but with the completion of the 36-mile-long Mont Cenis Base Tunnel through the Savoy Alps, this commute time will be cut in half.

According to EU statistics, 17 of Europe’s 20 busiest flying routes span distances of less than 434 miles, the kind of distances where intercity trains may provide faster and more sustainable travel.

When French lawmakers first suggested canceling flights to three cities from Orly airport in 2021, the Union of French Airports and the European division of the Airports Council International objected. This prompted the European Commission to investigate, which decided that the plans were acceptable.

“This is a significant step forward, and I am proud to say that France is a pioneer in this area,” said France’s Transport Minister ClĂ©ment Beaune.


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