With the aviation sector still reeling from the global pandemic, France’s domestic air transport sector has received a further blow with French lawmakers voting late on Saturday to abolish domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours.

The vote was made by the National Assembly and is in line with government efforts to lower carbon emissions and is part of a broader climate bill that aims to cut French carbon emissions by 40% in 2030 from 1990 levels. There will be two more rounds of voting before this is formally approved. The measure is expected to impact five domestic routes out of France’s existing 108-route-strong domestic network. These include: Paris (Orly) to Bordeaux; Orly to Lyon; Orly to Nantes, Orly to Rennes; and Lyon to Marseille.

The vote came shortly after it was announced that the French government said it would more than double its stake in Air France-KLM by contributing €4bn to recapitalise the airline.

France’s Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Europe 1 radio, “We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions. Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside.”

The bill to cut back domestic flights will next week go to France’s Senate to vote on.


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