The French National Assembly voted on Saturday evening to abolish certain domestic airline flights, in the event of alternatives taking less than 2.5 hours.
This emblematic measure of the climate bill aims to eliminate links between Paris (Orly) and Nantes, Lyon or Bordeaux, but provides for exceptions for connecting journeys. However, the Citizen’s Climate Convention had earlier called for abandoning domestic flights in the event of alternatives of less than 4 hours by train, and not two and a half hours.
Above all, the government bill reinforces the existing one, since the government had forced Air France to give up the routes concerned in return for financial support in May 2020. It will prohibit competitors from entering the market abandoned by the flag carrier.
“We chose the threshold of 2h30, because 4h dries up often landlocked territories such as the great Massif Central … It would be unfair in terms of territorial equity“, argued the Minister for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.
But the measure sparked an outcry from parliamentarians from different sides, often elected from the South West, where Airbus is based in Toulouse, and many of its subcontractors.
Ecologists pleaded to return to the initial proposal of the Citizen’s Climate Convention, with the threshold of 4 hours.
A decree must specify the measure and any other routes likely to be affected, such as Paris-Rennes or Lyon-Marseille.
The bill also provides for gradual carbon offsetting of domestic flights – Air France already applies this – and a ban on the expansion of airport facilities by expropriation if they lead to higher emissions.
Source: La Voix du Nord