For opponents of the cancellation of domestic flights, Paris has indeed pushed back
After long negotiations, an agreement was reached between the European Commission and the French government to ban domestic flights if there is an alternative with a train of less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. It’s time to count the points for the Union of French Airports (UAF), the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe) and the Syndicate of Autonomous Airlines (Scara). The three professional associations that complained to Brussels against the initial French proposal claim they have been heard, but are not yet fully satisfied.
Although the event was approved by Brussels, Scara president Jean-Francois Dominiac is undoubtedly the most pleased. A few days ago, the person who left the post of CEO of the French company ASL Airlines does not hesitate to say that this decision of the European Commission is a victory. Although he regrets that he did not consult with aviation experts before preparing this text, he expresses his satisfaction with the decision of Europe, which rightly recognizes what we are arguing and opens an unexpected door. »
His main reason for satisfaction is that the duration of the measure is limited to three years, which is for a specific reason. With regard to the 100% offset of CO2 emissions applied to domestic flights from 2024, it believes that when this measure is reassessed in 24 months (a condition set by Brussels for its extension), domestic flights can no longer be considered polluting. According to him, the lines can logically reopen. He regrets that Orly airport, which has only been around for three years, has affected connectivity, particularly to the detriment of passengers flying abroad.
Climate Law: Paris and Brussels agree to ban domestic flights
UAF President Thomas June agrees with this time limit, but also with the need for the French state to re-evaluate the event every year. It responds to the main complaints submitted by the complainants to the European Commission. As such, he judges that Brussels has “reduced the scope of the text of the French law”, where Olivier Jankovec, CEO of ACI Europe, even talks about reframing. Like Jean-Francois Dominiac, France’s airports chief hopes that offsetting all CO2 emissions on French domestic flights from 2024 will make the ban obsolete. Nevertheless, he is still waiting to see what the evaluation criteria will be before he gets excited.
Thomas June also reveals that the European decision has been “delayed”, symptomatic of the “legal difficulties” created by this decree, which should implement Article 145 of the law of August 22, 2021, known as “Climate and Sustainability”. in accordance with Article 20 of European Regulation EC No 1008-2008, which allows the restriction of air traffic “in case of serious environmental problems”. However, according to Thomas Juin, this community provision is designed to take temporary measures to deal with the emergency and to deal with global warming in the long term. So he believes we “bent the law” in this story.
Air travel: Brussels pushes back against Paris over ban on domestic flights
The story is not over
Three representatives of the sector are now awaiting the publication of the contract to analyze it in detail. Jean-Francois Dominiac aims at the public consultation in which he intends to participate. Thomas June and Olivier Jankovec, for their part, should continue to act in a coordinated manner, especially since the beginning of the file with the general complaint. “We will look into it and we reserve the possibility to take over the State Council and even the Court of the European Union. The story is not over,” the UAF president warns.
In any case, he is still not convinced that “this type of meter is a game-changer for CO2 emissions from air transport in France and Europe” and prefers to strengthen commitments on the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) or offsets. . For his part, the CEO of ACI Europe already expresses doubts about the effectiveness and proportionality of the measure, given its “very marginal impact on reducing CO2 emissions” compared to the “scale of the global warming problem”.