European Airlines Plan To Hit Back At Short-Haul Flight Bans

Concerns have been raised about the restriction of EU freedom of movement laws if the policy is extended across the union.


France’s domestic flight ban has been criticized by a group of European airports and airlines for loosening restrictions, Reuters reported.


brief history

In December, the European Union passed the French law to cut short-haul flights on routes with reliable network connections in order to reduce carbon emissions. The ban currently covers three routes between Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon. Many other routes could be added to the list, including Rennes and Marseille, if services are improved.

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Industry groups began lobbying for the law to be relaxed, fearing that the ban could spread throughout the union and affect the EU’s free movement agreements. In a statement to Reuters, an unnamed industry explained the industry’s stance on the policy implemented recently as follows:

“We have an open, liberalized market principle established by the EU, with the freedom to provide air service to any European airline between any point within Europe. And this is basically to support freedom of movement, people and citizens across Europe.”

Air Hop!  On the asphalt at Rennes Saint Jacques Bretagne airport (RNS)

Photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock

Critics have raised questions about the actual effectiveness of the ban. According to the French Airports Association, the ban will target only 0.23% of France’s aviation-related emissions.

Willie Walsh, Director-General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), reiterated a similar view at the Airline Economics Conference in Dublin on Monday, stating that a ban on all flights below 500km in Europe would account for only 4% of emissions.

The current ban will remain in effect for three years before being reconsidered by the European Commission. Interested groups are expected to lobby the political establishment during any informal review of the law.

Private jets under fire

Environmental groups argued that although France makes up a low portion of air traffic, the policy has not been broadened enough. While the eyes were turned to private air travel, discussions about extending the ban to personal air travel also flared up.

In the wake of the summer heatwave in Europe, Transport Minister Delegate Clément Beaune proposed a bill to regulate private jets within the country, and green groups recommended a tax on fuels for business and private aviation.

Luxury Business Jet lands at Samedan Airport, St Moritz

Photo: Thierry Weber / Shutterstock

The momentum primarily continued. On Friday, Greenpeace called for EU-wide regulation of private aviation emissions and an extension of France’s ban to cover short-haul business travel.

In a statement released on January 13, Greenpeace criticized corporate and political leaders who traveled by private jet to the World Economic Form 2023 held in Davos. Analysis by the green group revealed that at least 53% of the 1,040 private jets that landed at airports close to the Swiss resort were short-haul flights under 750km on routes with easily accessible alternative transportation options.

“Europe is experiencing the hottest January days ever recorded, and communities around the world are grappling with extreme weather events fueled by the climate crisis.” famous transportation campaigner Klara Maria Schenk.

There is an adequate train station in Davos, but these people cannot even take the train for a short journey of 21 km.”

What do you think about the short-haul bans? Want to see other countries implement the policy? Let us know in the comments.

Sources: Reuters, Le Monde

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