France has banned short-haul domestic flights between cities where there is an existing rail connection that takes less than two and a half hours.
The final number of axed flights stops short of the eight routes French MPs had proposed to cut under its 2021 climate law. If rail services improve more routes could join the list.
To fight climate change, France bans domestic flights where cities are linked by train with a journey time of two and a half hours or less. Will mean flights between Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux and Lyons will be shut down.
Is the first country in the world to introduce such a ban. https://t.co/3gxePk9Py1
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 23, 2023
The move has been implemented in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions in Europe.
But Laurent Donceel, interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E), told AFP governments should support “real and significant solutions” to airline emissions, rather than "symbolic bans".
Brussels had found that “banning these trips will only have minimal effects” on CO2 output, he added.
Some European MPs hope the law will expand to routes across the continent as new high-speed rail lines are constructed.
While the current rail journey between Paris and Milan, for example, takes more than seven hours, the opening of the new 36-mile Mont Cenis base tunnel will cut the travelling time in half.
It comes as French politicians have also been debating how to reduce emissions from private jets.
While Green MPs have called for banning small private flights altogether, Transport Minister Clement Beaune last month trailed a higher climate charge for users from next year.