In a bid to lower the travel industry’s carbon emissions, lawmakers in France voted over the weekend to abolish domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in less than two-and-a-half hours.
The French government had, just days before, committed €4 billion to the recapitalisation of Air France, which has been impacted by the global pandemic, like much of the travel and airline industry. The injection of money will double the government’s investment in the airline.
Speaking on whether bringing in the ban while the aviation industry is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Industry, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, told Europe 1 radio: “We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions. Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside.”
Some environmental campaigners have criticised the ban from not going far enough to lower emissions, suggesting the train-journey measurement should be less than four hours, not just two-and-a-half.
France’s broader climate bill aims to cut the country’s emissions by 40 percent in 2030 from 1990 levels.
The new bill will go to the Senate before a third and final vote in the lower house.