French lawmakers have voted in favour of a bill to end air routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-half hours, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
The measures, which will face a further vote in the nation’s Senate before coming to law, could affect travel between Paris and cities including Nantes Lyon and Bordeaux, but is not expected to apply to connecting flights.
The vote came after the French Government more than doubled its stake in Air France, after previously expressing that financial support to the airline would be dependent on it cutting some of its domestic flights.
Elsewhere, Austrian Airlines replaced an air route between the nation’s capital Vienna and the city of Salzburg with an increased train service, after the Government provided it with a bailout with provisions to cut its carbon footprint.
The mass grounding of flights due to the COVID pandemic has seen the environmental impact of aviation, in the form of CO2 emissions, reduced by up to 60 per cent at the peak of the pandemic in 2020.
As such, green campaigners have argued that the aviation shutdown provides an opportunity to put the sector on a positive environmental trajectory.
Research has shown that the COVID pandemic may indeed have a positive long term impact in reducing emissions by flights. For example, a study cited by The Guardian shows that most British business travellers will take fewer flights than they used to, thanks to the proliferation of video conferencing.
This comes at a time when nations and businesses across the world take action to combat climate change, and especially that caused by carbon emissions.
The EU, for example, aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050. HSBC says it wants to bring carbon emissions in its investment portfolio down to net-zero by the same year.
The UK Government is considering rolling out more advanced scanners by mid-2024, sources told the BBC
The UK is the only G7 nation whose economy is still smaller than it was before the pandemic