France starts banning short-haul flights, cracks down on private jets

France has received the green light from the European Commission to start cracking down on ultra-polluting short-haul flights within the country, starting with a ban on three popular flights from Paris-Orly Airport. The country also aims to curb the use of private jets in an effort to both reduce CO2 emissions and keep up the social media backlash against the super-rich jet set in a time of soaring inflation and energy cutbacks.

The measure to ban short-haul commercial flights within France, first proposed in 2021, needed the nod of approval from the EC after considerable pushback from the Union of French Airports and the European branch of the Airports Council International. While the original plan hoped to ban eight flights, the EC only approved three flight routes that offer good alternatives to travel by rail in less than 2.5. hours, with many options for direct train travel throughout the day. That includes journeys between Paris-Orly and Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon.

Three more routes may potentially be added to the list – between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon and Rennes, and between Lyon and Marseille — but these weren’t approved because travelers needing to get to airports in Paris and Lyon don’t, at the moment anyway, have options to take very early or very late trains. Two other proposed routes, from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux and Nantes, were excluded from the plan because traveling by train takes slightly more than 2.5 hours on high-speed trains.

The new ban will be valid for three years, after which it will need to be reassessed by the EC.

“This is a major step forward and I am proud that France is a pioneer in this area,” France’s Transport Minister Clément Beaune said in a statement.

While green campaigners had hoped for a more ambitious plan, the mood after Friday’s vote was generally positive. Greenpeace’s Thomas Gelin adds, “The French ban on short-haul flights where quick train connections exist is a baby step, but it’s one in the right direction.”

The French government also plans to radically curb the number of private jets allowed to fly within the country, to cut back on emissions and react to a growing backlash against the ultra-rich and their gas-guzzling puddle-jumping, with the most popular route being from Paris to the French Rivera.

Top comment by Dean C.

Liked by 16 people

This is a great first step. The crackdown on private jets is FULLY justified. The uber-rich create hundreds or even thousands of times the pollution generated by average citizens of developed counties.

We must not be afraid to enact good policy simply because we're afraid of upsetting the uber-rich and their obsequious lapdogs (including the gullible poor who watch Fox News and thus become trained to hate themselves).

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“There are some behaviors that are no longer acceptable,” Beaune told Le Parisien last August.

And for good reason: A report from Transport and Environment, the European federation for clean transport, found that private jets are up to 14 times more polluting than commercial flights per passenger mile, and 50 times more polluting than trains.

An example of total excess, director Steven Spielberg’s private jet reportedly burned more than $116,000 in jet fuel in two months this summer, emitting some 179 tons of CO2 into the air, according to flight-tracking data from ADS-B Exchange.

France – which has the highest number of private jet flights in Europe – won’t likely ban private jets, however, but more likely apply heavy taxation and restrictions, asking companies to be more transparent in how their corporate jets are used.

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Avatar for Jennifer Mossalgue Jennifer Mossalgue

Jennifer is a journalist and editor based in France and serves as the copy chief for the 9to5 family of sites, including 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, and Electrek.