After France Bans Short Domestic Flights, It’s Business as Usual
When the French government officially enacted a ban on short domestic flights this week, it hailed the measure as proof that France was at the vanguard of ambitious climate change policies. But critics say it’s much ado about almost nothing.
“We are the first to do it,” President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a celebratory message on Twitter, which also included a picture that said “Promise Kept” stamped in green ink.
At first glance, the promise would seem to have been kept: Any flight between two cities that can be replaced by a train ride of less than 2.5 hours is banned. In a country smaller than Texas and with an extensive high-speed rail network, that would appear to rule out a large number of domestic flights.
But appearances can be deceiving.
The decree formalizing the ban, which was published on Tuesday, is riddled with exceptions.
It applies only to cities connected by direct train service running “several times a day” and enabling travelers to spend a minimum of eight hours at their destination.
It does not apply to connecting flights, and it carves out an exception…