Domestic flights may be banned soon in France, after the European Commission has approved the move.

Friday, it was announced that the EU would allow France to go through with their plan of banning short-distance domestic flights and severely restricting private flights. The idea was proposed by France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate in 2021, a civilian assembly looking for ways to help reduce the country’s carbon emissions and fuel use.

In its current form, the plan is to ban all flights between cities which are already linked by a train ride of less than two and a half hours. Trains are much, much more fuel efficient than airplanes.

For instance, a Boeing 747 burns approximately 5 gallons of fuel per mile while carrying 500 passengers, an estimated 100 passenger-miles per gallon if traveling long-haul flights. Short flights are much less efficient than that. The TGV (high-speed train) in France is all-electric, running on the nation’s plentiful, emission-free nuclear power, and carries between 300 and 800 passengers.

According to French transport minister Clément Beaune, part of the goal is to make the cutbacks that the general public must make for energy and climate conservation also apply to the super wealthy.

The measure was first announced in April of 2021, but strong opposition by the Union of French Airports and the Airports Council International triggered an in-depth investigation by the European Commission into whether or not the restriction would be legal.

“[This] is a major step forward in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” transport minister Beaune said in a press release.

“I am proud that France is a pioneer in this area,” he added.

Initially, the ban will be applied only to three domestic flights routes between Paris Orly Airport and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux, where the rail options are genuinely convenient alternatives. Several other rail routes will have to add early and late runs to qualify as alternatives.

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