France Considers Banning Domestic Flights As Anti-Flying Movement Grows

by Chris Dong

In recent years, aircraft manufacturers have unveiled more fuel efficient planes like Boeing’s popular 787 Dreamliner.  Airlines also have begun making strides to reduce plastic and waste onboard. United even had a biofuel and zero cabin waste flight from Chicago to Los Angeles last week to mark World Environment Day.

However, the environmental impact of flying remains a major concern especially as global air travel grows.

A growing group of environmental activists in Northern Europe have committed to shunning flights as a new Swedish term emerges. “Flygskam” — which translates to “flight shame” — has now become a regular part of the vocabulary in parts of Sweden.

France is also considering a bill that would ban internal flights within the country that could be completed by a train ride in less than five hours.

The proposal states that as an example, a Paris to Marseille flight emits a total of 178 kg of CO2 equivalent per passenger compared with 4.14 kg for the same exact journey by train. 

That’s a significant difference in CO2 figures.

environmental impact flying

406 mile flight between Paris and Marseille

Even without a ban, Air France has already announced that it will cut 15% of its short haul network by 2021 as competition grows from high speed trains and low cost airlines. French Environment Minister Francois Rugy stated that while the outright ban may not happen, France would at least push for a tax on aviation fuel at the next European Commission.

The Upshot

In many areas without a robust train network (like much of the U.S.), a plane ride is simply the de facto option.

And in busy corridors like between Washington D.C., New York, and Boston, a flight may sometimes be more affordable than the train. In this last case, it is worthwhile to widen the scope of transportation options to not just flights and trains, but also the bus.

Needless to say, as concern for the environmental impact of flying grows, airlines will be looking for ways to offset their carbon footprint — not purely out of goodwill but as a means to overcome the polluter stigma.

See Also: Ryanair Competes With Coal As Top EU Polluter

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12 comments

DaninMCI June 11, 2019 - 12:54 pm

“France would at least push for a tax” stated like a true socialist 🙂

Reply
WR2 June 11, 2019 - 1:15 pm

Come on France, you are not going far enough. Ban all flights. Take a CO2-free sailboat to anywhere in the world you want to go, that is if you are truly committed to this nonsense.

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Bill June 11, 2019 - 5:34 pm

Complete nonsense, we need MORE CO2, not less! CO2 is necessary for life on earth. Liberal nonsense

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Christian June 12, 2019 - 11:18 am

Exactly. This reliance on science and fact is way overblown. If my neighbors know the world is flat because they can’t see the curve of the Earth, more power to them!

Reply
Christian June 11, 2019 - 6:10 pm

The closest thing to a silver bullet on the climate change front is a cheap, accessible and highly efficient battery. That would allow for transport of renewable energy to different locations.

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Jackson Rogers June 12, 2019 - 11:47 am

This is why I reject all environmentalists and environmental proposals like a carbon tax because I know these are not rational people and any leeway will just inch us closer to more burecreacy and government infringement on our personal lives and freedoms. Like with everything in life clean energy is coming for economic reasons and renewable energy becomes cheaper and cheaper. I applaud airlines for reducing plastic and other businesses for doing things voluntarily.

The reality is air transport only exists because there are no viable alternatives. Of course we all would prefer to take the train for rides that are under 4 hours because of the security and checking in and airport nonsense. Anything much longer requires flights. In the case of marseille most of the flights exists because of connecting flights.

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747always June 12, 2019 - 11:11 pm

By claiming that any proposal to help the environment is only put forth by irrational people, you show yourself to be as irrational as those who you claim are.
Pot. Kettle. Black.

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dotti June 12, 2019 - 12:57 pm

It’s socialist/Liberal Overkill!!!

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Justin June 14, 2019 - 9:33 am

Lunacy, pure lunacy. People will become resentful of the modern environmental movement and push back hard.

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Jean Louis June 14, 2019 - 3:50 pm

I think it s a good start
60 daily flights between MSP and ORD when a couple of high speed train will do the trip in 2 Hours yes short flights are not needed even in the USA we will get it

Reply
Updates on Various Fronts – Flying Less: Reducing Academia's Carbon Footprint June 18, 2019 - 7:32 am

[…] In France, the national government is considering a proposed ban on flights within the country on routes traveled by train in less than five hours.  Regardless of what the government decides, it will push for an aviation fuel tax at the next meeting of the European Commission, according to France’s Environment Minister Francois Rugy. […]

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[…] a leaked EU report showed the benefits of ending airlines’ tax break on jet fuel. France considered banning domestic flights. And the Stay Grounded Network released a report “Degrowth of Aviation – Reducing Air Travel in […]

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