LONDON – Lawmakers in the French Government have voted to abolish domestic flights that can be covered by train in under two and a half hours, according to a report from Reuters.
Such a motion has been made as part of the country’s commitment to offset carbon emissions by 40% in 2030 from levels recorded in 1990.
On top of this, the French Government has doubled its stake in Air France via a four billion euro recapitalisation plan as a way of shoring up its finance plans as the airline aims to get out of the pandemic.
This, of course, has been met with severe criticism with the industry, with Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher dismissing such criticism.
“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.”
It could be suggested the French Government has placed this motion through due to the fact that air traffic may not return to pre-crisis levels until 2024, hinting a potential reset on the way French citizens travel around the country.
Those on the environmental side have even said that this bill doesn’t go far enough and want flights to be scrapped on routes where you can travel there in under four hours, rather than the two and a half.
Whilst the bill has not been officially ratified into law as of yet, it is understood that it will be passed through the Senate and the lower house with relative ease, due to President Macron’s popular presence in those chambers.
For the aviation industry in France, this is not great news, as it means that a big chunk of the domestic air market will be removed, which may place a negative blow on the likes of Air France.
That being said, with the French Government doubling its stake in the carrier, this could be as a result of this motion being passed, in order to make sure that France’s national carrier doesn’t go under going into the future.