France moved forward with a law designed to reduce its carbon footprint on Tuesday, banning short domestic flights when rail service is available.
For the ban to apply, the air route must have high-speed rail service between two destinations requiring less than two-and-a-half hours or less. It must also be possible for travelers to spend at least eight hours at their destination.
So far, only three routes have been affected. Those flights were between the Paris-Orly airport and the cities of Lyon, Bordeaux, and Nantes.
The country’s transport minister, Clement Beaune, championed the move in a statement.
“This is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast, and efficient connections by train.”
But critics of the measure say it doesn’t go far enough and that high-speed rail service was already taking passengers from the airlines. President Emmanuel Macron’s environmental panel recommended a broader ban, including flights where a train ride would take less than four hours.