French lawmakers have voted to ban domestic flights on routes that could be taken in a train ride in less than two-and-a-half hours, Reuters reported. The vote late Saturday comes as part of France’s larger climate bill, which seeks to reduce its 1990-level carbon emissions by 40 percent over the next decade.
Last week, France’s government said it would contribute 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) to recapitalize airline Air France-KLM. The airline warned it is expecting an operating loss of 1.3 billion euros when it reports its first-quarter earnings next month. The airline industry is reeling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a sharp reduction in global travel over the past year.
“We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions,” France’s Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runachershe told Europe 1 radio. “Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside.”
McKinsey & Co. analysts estimate the airline industry will continue to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for several years, predicting that air traffic won’t get back to 2019 levels until 2024.
The bill to cut back domestic flights goes next to France’s Senate for a vote.