A ban on short domestic flights in France has been approved by Brussels
CHRIS DELMAS / AFP
The European Commission will approve the French measure to cancel domestic flights this Friday, December 2, if there is an alternative with a train of less than 2h30. (Photo: An Air France plane is seen on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Ruissy-en-France, September 8, 2022.)
ENVIRONMENT – The European Commission approved on Friday, December 2, with some amendments, the French measure to cancel domestic flights if there is an alternative train of less than 2:30 hours by train.
The measure, a symbolic provision of the climate law, is due to be reviewed in three years and will also apply to connecting flights, according to a source interviewed by AFP. The decision should be officially published this Friday.
Exceptions have been removed
In December 2021, the European executive announced that it would take a step “deep analysis” This project is being contested by the Union of French Airports (UAF) together with the European section of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe). Discussions were held between the Commission and the French government to ensure the project’s compliance with European legislation.
The measure, which banned connections between Paris (Orly) and Nantes, Lyon or Bordeaux, provided for exceptions for connecting trips. But these exceptions were removed, the Commission decided that they caused distortions of competition between airlines.
The European Air Services Regulation (Article 20) provides that a Member State, “in the case of serious environmental problems (…) restricts or denies the exercise of traffic rights, especially when other modes of transport provide satisfactory service”.
However, it means that these measures should be taken “non-discriminatory”do not provoke “distortion of competition between air carriers”not to be “more restrictive than necessary” and should be “a limited period of validity of not more than three years, after which they are reviewed”. This article has not been applied by any Member State before.
“Sustainable Mobility Strategy”
The European Commission itself a “Sustainable Mobility Strategy”As part of climate ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Therefore, the ban on short-haul routes in France will be reviewed after three years, with an interim review every six months, to check that it is always justified.
The French project above all supports the existing one, since the government forced Air France to give up ties in exchange for financial support in May 2020 to overcome the health crisis. It also prohibits opponents from infringing.
France’s main airport union, UAF, as well as Scara (Autonomous Airlines Syndicate) have already protested in parliamentary debates the cancellation of these routes, especially the Orly-Bordeaux route that was carried before the health crisis. more than 560,000 travelers per year.
The slider posted at 2:30 was considered “too shy” by NGOs
In total, Orly-Nantes, Orly-Lyon and Orly-Bordoux, excluding DOM-TOM and Corsica, represented around 4% of French domestic air travel or 1.1 million passengers in 2019, according to specialist firm Archery Consulting. did. Bordeaux-Mérignac airport estimated that the end of the connection with Orly would cause it to lose 16% of its turnover, which local elected officials later condemned. “new shot” brought to the economy of the region.
But environmental NGOs found the slider at 2:30 too embarrassing. In October 2021, Greenpeace pointed out that a third of the busiest flights in the European Union have alternatives with trains of less than six hours, and that their ban would save 3.5 million tons of CO2.
The global aviation sector emitted 900 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019 (ie 2.5% of total emissions) before the health crisis tripled traffic in 2020. Since then, attendance has increased and a return to pre-pandemic activity should be complete. In 2024, according to the forecasts of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which brings together most of the companies in the world.
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