Ban on air links: recourse by French airports in Brussels

French airports wish to obtain the cancellation of the ban on internal air links when there is an alternative by train in less than 2:30, provided for by the recent French Climate Law.

French airports announced on Tuesday that they had appealed to the European Commission to obtain the annulment of the ban on domestic air links when there is an alternative by train in less than 2:30, provided for by the recent French Climate Law.

We filed this complaint on September 17th“, Jointly and severally with the European branch of the International Airports Council (ACI Europe), told AFP the president of the French Airports Union (UAF), Thomas Juin, confirming information from the newspaper The gallery. He considered that article 145 of the law “Climate and resilience“, Adopted in July in France, was”legally unfounded“. This article provides for the prohibition of “regular public air transport services for passengers concerning all air links within French territory, the journey of which is also provided on the national rail network without a connection and by several daily connections lasting less than two and a half hours“.

Thomas Juin recalled that this article was based on a European text, article 20 of regulation n ° 1008/2008, providing for exceptions to the exercise of traffic rights “in the event of serious damage to the environment“, But according to him for”local, temporary reasons”And not applicable to the subject of global warming. The European regulation is worded as follows: these restrictions have “a limited period of validity, not exceeding three years, at the end of which they are reviewed“.

European law is being twisted to apply a measure that will also be ineffective from an environmental point of view“, Affirmed the leader of this gathering of 165 airports: the lines thus prohibited from March 2022 represent”0.23%»Emissions from French domestic lines. Concretely, the connections falling within the perimeter of the law are Marseille-Lyon, Paris-Orly-Nantes, Orly-Lyon and Orly-Bordeaux. The text nevertheless provides for exceptions for correspondence.

A decree would in fact make it possible to derogate from this ban when the airlines provide “Mostly” the transport of connecting passengers. The Chamber of Territories has redefined this perimeter, to make it possible to derogate from the prohibition when they ensure “More than 50%” the transport of connecting passengers. The layout as well “Clarified”, “Would only concern one line still open in France: the Orly-Bordeaux”, according to the co-rapporteur of the Climate Bill Philippe Tabarot (LR).

The law especially ratifies the existing one, since the government had forced Air France to give up the routes concerned in return for financial support in May 2020. It prohibits competitors from rushing into the breach. During parliamentary debates, the UAF had already contested the abolition of these lines, in particular Orly-Bordeaux which, before the health crisis, transported more than 560,000 travelers per year. Airports are not unaware of the challenges of global warming, stressed Thomas Juin, recalling that the sector was committed to “carbon neutralityBy 2050.

For the associations grouped together in the Climate Action Network, things are different. “With this complaint against the removal of links that can be completed in less than 2h30, the aviation sector confirms that it prefers to close its eyes to the reality of its climate impact: in 20 years, emissions from the aviation sector have more than doubled.»To represent 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. “It is urgent to close the internal lines for which there is an alternative train in less than 4 hours as recommended by the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate“, Which could be done”as of now without strong constraints for users“, According to a reaction sent to AFP.

This is an emblematic measure of the climate and resilience bill, examined at first reading by the upper house, after the National Assembly. The Citizen’s Convention for the Climate (CCC) had demanded to give up domestic flights in the event of alternatives of less than 4 hours by train, and not 2:30. The threshold of 2 hours and 30 minutes retained by the government preserves the possibility of making a return trip in the same day as well as the opening up of the territories.


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