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June 12, 2023

Spain Considers Banning Short-Haul Flights to Combat Climate Change, Following

Spain could be the next European country to halt short-haul flights, as part of efforts to combat climate change.

Madrid could follow the example of France whose ban on domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by train in less than two-and-half hours became effective last month, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Authorities in Spain already unfolded plans to take similar steps, after the Spanish Prime Minister’s 2050 Agenda, introduced about two years ago, consisted of similar measures.

According to the Murcia Today report, a study revealed that air travel in Spain generates twice the carbon footprint of high-speed trains.

The research by travel experts Mabrian and Phocuswright revealed that there have been a total of 5,744 flights between Barcelona and Madrid over the past 12 months or a journey of just 630 kilometres that the train can make in about 2.5 hours.

In addition, the study provided by Mabrian noted that the total CO2 emissions generated by the air service in 2022 amounts to about 54,000 tonnes, which accounts for a total 132 per cent increase in emissions in comparison to 27,000 tonnes that would be emitted by trains consisting on the same number of travellers.

In May this year, the Transport Minister of France, Clement Beaune, while considering it an important step, confirmed that the country banned domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by trains for a period of less than two-and-half hours.

“As we fight relentlessly to decarbonise our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train,” Beaune emphasized, according to a CNN report.

In addition, Belgian politician, Georges Gilkinet, last month said that authorities in EU countries should halt short-haul flights and also replace the routes with improved train services.

He said that EU countries should follow the lead of France, thus switching to a greener mode of transportation, and also minimise gas emissions.

However, the decision to ban short-haul flights was not unanimously supported. In addition, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General, Willie Walsh, considered such a decision as completely absurd. Walsh said that it serves no purpose, based on a report of the EEF News Agency.

But EuroWeekly News, through a report said that short-haul flights contribute the most to aviation emissions in Europe, citing research conducted by scientists at the University of Manchester.

The research also emphasized that abolishing short-haul flights of less than 500 kilometres in European countries would significantly reduce aviation emissions, which account for a total of 6 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.