France implements ban on short flights for trips possible in less than 2.5 hours by train

France has officially banned domestic flights for train journeys that can be completed in less than two and a half hours. This ban has already been put into practice and was recently published in a government decree on Tuesday.

Although this action was already being applied and was part of a climate law passed in 2021, some airlines had requested that the European Commission investigate its legality.

This change mainly affects air travel between Paris and regional hubs such as Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux, while connecting flights are not affected.

Critics have pointed out that the time limit for comparable train journeys is less than the roughly three hours it takes to travel from Paris to the Mediterranean port city of Marseilles by high-speed train.

The original proposal, put forward by the Citizens for Climate Convention, was aimed at banning any flights for trips that could be completed in six hours by train. However, this idea was watered down when the bill passed through Parliament.

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Under the law, train services on the same route must be frequent, punctual, and well-connected to adequately meet the needs of passengers who would otherwise choose to travel by air.

(Also read—Explained: How Much Pollution Air Travel Causes and How It Contributes to Global Warming)

They must also be able to accommodate the increase in the number of passengers.

To comply with the law, people making such trips must be able to complete their round-trip train journeys on the same day, allowing them to spend approximately eight hours at their destination.

It’s important to note that the law only applies to commercial flights, not private jet travel.

The government had already secured Air France’s agreement to comply with the plan in exchange for financial support during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Competitors were not allowed to simply fill the void left by the banned flights.

This development coincides with ongoing discussions among French politicians about reducing emissions from private jets.

While Green MPs have advocated an outright ban on small private flights, Transport Minister Clement Beaune recently hinted at the implementation of a higher weather charge for users from next year.


In a notable incident, the French soccer team Paris-Saint-Germain came under harsh criticism last year for taking a plane for a game in Nantes when taking the train would have taken just two hours.

(With AFP inputs)

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