A July 2023 study by Greenpeace found that taking the train can be two to four times more expensive than flying across Europe. The study looked at 112 routes connecting major cities in Europe and discovered that seven out of ten (or 79 out of 112) of the routes had generally less expensive flights.
Establishing a minimum cost for airline tickets is a positive step, but Tony Renucci, director of the air quality advocacy group Respire, does not yet “see how it will encourage people to take the alternative.”
“If you want people to take the train rather than the plane, you must lower the cost of train tickets,” he told France Info.
Renucci told the publication that compared to driving a car, air travel “contributes little” to air pollution.
Beaune has previously advocated increasing the tax on airline tickets to pay for the development of more environmentally friendly travel options.
“It allows us to finance investments in the train,” Beaune said during an interview with RMC radio station in August 2023. “Many people tell us that they are shocked that, often, the plane costs less than the train.”
France also partially outlawed short-haul flights in May 2023 to locations that could be reached by train in under 2.5 hours. The change, which only affected three routes from Paris-Orly to Bordeaux, Lyon, and Nantes, drew criticism for its narrow scope.
Photo Cover Credit: Micha Korb:pressefoto_korb:picture alliance