French ban on domestic short-haul flights is a ‘world first’

Air France flight from Lyon
GB-Photographie /

The French government has banned domestic short-haul flights where train alternatives, of less than 2.5 hours travel time, are available.  

The new law also aligns with the French government’s plans to achieve “carbon neutrality” and “decarbonize travel”. 

Under the legislation, passengers will no longer be able to travel between Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon, and Paris. 

France’s Minister for Transport Clément Beaune announced the publication of a decree on May 23, 2023, and it is effective immediately. 

After the agreement of the European Commission, the public consultation and the opinion of the Council of State, the publication of the decree is the final step which brings the law into effect.  

In a statement the Minister asked “how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities” when there are “regular, fast and efficient connections” by train. 

“Achieving carbon neutrality means strongly stepping up our action in terms of decarbonizing transport, which still accounts for 30% of emissions. This is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This measure is a world first which is fully in line with the Government’s policy of encouraging the use of modes of transport that emit less greenhouse gases,” Beaune stated. 

The interim head of industry group, Airlines for Europe (A4E), Laurent Donceel, described the new law as a “symbolic ban”. 

Speaking to the AFP news agency Donceel argued that “banning these trips will only have minimal effects”. 

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