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June 5, 2023

EU Should Ban Short-Haul Flights Where Rail Alternatives Exist, Says

Authorities in European Union countries should ban short-haul flights and replace the routes with improved train services, Belgian politician, Georges Gilkinet, has said.

According to him, the EU needs to follow the lead of France, who decided to ban domestic flights of under 2.5 hours and use train travel instead, as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Belgium’s Federal Mobility Minister has considered that it is time to end casual cross-continent air travel while stressing that he wants to forbid such little distance flights.

“You have to make this on a European level, this makes sense. We tried with some colleagues who have a majority in the European Council, but there are other countries who are afraid of such a decision,” Gilkinet pointed out, according to a report of Inews.

The Minister expressed his hopes that in the future the number of those supporting the idea to ban short-haul flights increases.

In order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and turn to a greener mode of transportation, authorities in France earlier this month officially banned domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by train for a period of less than two-and-half hours.

The changes were confirmed by the Transport Minister, Clement Beaune and considered an important step in the country’s ongoing attempts to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision was part of the 2021 climate law and was already applied, still, some airlines called on the European Commission to investigate whether it was legal or not.

Last month, authorities in Belgium introduced new air travel taxes with higher duties for flights shorter than 500km among others.

Belgian Minister Gilkinet has considered sleeper trains the future of European travel. He said that night trains are a great solution.

Taking into account the fact that they are considered among the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation, a large number of countries in Europe are looking to switch to train travel, which also helps in producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile in comparison to other means of transport such as cars or aeroplanes.

Recently, the European Sleeper company confirmed that the first train connecting Brussels as well as Berlin started regularly scheduled connections.

In March this year, a new train line that would connect the Netherlands as well as Germany and Belgium has been announced. According to a report by Travel Tomorrow, the new train line would become effective by December this year, and it would connect the following territories: Maastricht (Netherlands), Aachen (Germany) and Liège (Belgium).