France short-haul flight ban ‘significant milestone’ for rail

A leading travel industry commentator has said France’s move to abolish some short-haul internal flights is a “significant milestone” in global efforts to encourage more environmentally friendly modes of transport like high-speed rail.

Politicians in France’s National Assembly voted to ban domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours, in a bid to cut carbon emissions.

Paul Charles, CEO of the travel consultancy firm The PC Agency, said the lawmakers were moving France toward longer-term action on green travel.

The move is part of a wider bill aimed at fighting climate change, but critics have accused the government of watering down earlier drafts of the legislation that contained bolder measures.

Charles believes France’s push for high-speed rail is due to its green credentials, but also because various governments have spent half a century pouring billions of dollars into expanding the national network.

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