France says take trains not planes



France have implemented their ban on short-haul domestic flights, with it going into effect on December 2, 2022.

So what, and who, does this apply to?

The What.

It applies to short-haul domestic flights. In France.

Basically any route that can be reached by train within 2.5 hours is now a no-go for flights.

There are three initial scheduled routes that meet the criteria, and they’re all from LFPO/Paris Orly:

  • LFPO/Orly to LFBD/Bordeaux
  • LFPO/Orly to LFRS/Nantes
  • LFPO/Orly to LFLL/Lyon 

Originally there were 8 proposed routes which also included LFPG/Charles de Gaulle to LFBD/Bordeaux and LFRS/Nantes, LFPG/Charles de Gaulle to LFRS/Rennes and LFLL/Lyon, and also LFLL/Lyon to LFML/Marseille.

However, the train services aren’t quite there yet in terms of frequencies and timings. As soon as they are though… expect these to be reviewed as well.

The Who.

The official notice? Treaty? Regulation? Amendment to a treaty? Journal of the EU… We’re not actually sure what to call it, but the official thing says (and before we forget, here it is for you to read yourself), that the routes are “prohibited for any carrier”.

Which means, we guessed, all flights including BizAv. But, this is the EU, and we all remember the misery of working out what they meant by the term “carrier” for all things EU-LISA related…

And of course, there is the big question of whether this applies to non-French registered ‘carriers’ as well?

So official.

So, who else?

Well, we had a little re-read and what it actually says is this:

  1. Article 145.I of the Law prohibits, on the basis of Article 20 of the Regulation, scheduled public passenger air transport services on all air routes within French territory for which there are several direct rail connections per day of less than two and a half hours.

Phew, ok, that is actually not so bad.

So, we figure it means this:

  • It only applied to scheduled services.
  • It only applies to public (so not your private) flights.
  • It might apply to any EU registered (not just French registered) aircraft though.
  • They have specifically listed routes with connections that make this ruling applicable.

So if you are heading to France (and have some cabotage deal), and want to fly internally, then chances are you are still fine to do it. If you are an EU registered aircraft then you might want to have a closer look at what it means for you on these specific routes though.

And while they do say “scheduled public service” if there is a sudden uptick of private services on these routes it probably won’t go down very well, so perhaps don’t go having a cunning plan about setting up a ‘private’ route.

A nice (but not helpful here because it has no times) train map for you

Still fine… for now…

France has the highest number of private aircraft movements of any country in Europe (over 120,000 at the last proper count in 2019), and there is a plan to crackdown on this too.

What this means right now is that if you regularly fly private jets into France, have a think about how to reduce this because it is being monitored and could have a big impact in the future.

The Why.

Well, for environmental reasons mostly.

The prohibiting of these three routes alone will lead to a reduction of around 55,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from air transport. Using more trains on them is still calculated to lead to an overall reduction of around 50% (worst case) and as high as 98% (in a really best case world).

The impact on BizAv.

The impact on BizAv is not big now. In fact, the reduction of scheduled services into LFBD/Bordeaux, LFLL/Lyon and LFRS/Nantes might mean some additional space for your private flights. Not so much LFPO/Orly because its a fairly busy airport and 3 routes probably won’t mean much extra space. But this might also mean an increase in charges as the airports look to reduce the loss in revenue from having these routes cancelled.


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