French lawmakers approve a ban on short domestic flights. Flights would be banned on ‘domestic routes than can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours.’ Perhaps this is the provocation that aviation needs to finally have a zero emission plan (it doesn’t currently have one).
The measure is part of a broader climate bill that aims to cut French carbon emissions by 40% in 2030 from 1990 levels, though activists accuse President Emmanuel Macron of watering down earlier promises in the draft legislation.
The vote came days after the state said it would contribute to a 4 billion euro ($4.76 billion) recapitalisation of Air France, more than doubling its stake in the flagship carrier, to shore up its finances after over a year of COVID-19 travel curbs.
Air traffic may not return to pre-crisis levels before 2024, McKinsey analysts forecast. Making this the perfect time to bolster other forms of transportation and to focus on green technologies. As there is currently no zero emissions aviation plan in place, this could be the push that’s needed for industry to take a closer look at Hydrogen Planes. Battery powered planes are to heavy and Hydrogen would make the perfect green fuel since it’s light and dense with energy.
There ban on short travel is a double edged sword. New technologies aren’t usually suited for long distances at the start, the build distance as the technology matures. The ban could be revised to only apply to polluting flights and not all flights. Clean flying is under development and starts with short distances.
Regardless this is likely going to push the EU to exploring hydrogen aviation options earlier than expected.