France aims to reduce airline carbon emissions by making state aid conditional, says GlobalData

As Air France is granted more US$7.5bn in government help under the promise that, among other conditions, it will not compete with the French high-speed train service on journeys under 2.5 hours;

John Vandesquille, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Climate change and the subsequent necessary reduction of carbon emissions have been hot topics for years now, particularly in the travel industry, and airlines are often singled out for not doing enough to protect the environment.

“The aim of the French Government when placing conditions on access to its rescue package is to reduce domestic flights lasting less than 90 minutes to the minimum, as they are the worst offenders in terms of carbon emissions.

“It is expected that other governments currently negotiating with airlines, such as the Austrian Conservative-Green coalition for instance, will follow suit by imposing similar measures. Indeed, they all have emission reduction objectives and now is the ideal time to force airlines to be more environmentally-friendly as they possess very little leverage at the moment.

“Nevertheless, should this measure be efficient and, as a result, be applied to all carriers, the survival of a number of regional airlines, already at stake due to the COVID-19, would be further jeopardized. Furthermore, some destinations would be faced with a potential lossof connectivity.

“Now, the main issue for the French rail operator will be to offer competitive prices for high speed travel as it is often considered too expensive for the quality of service offered. The measures taken by the government would otherwise be slightly counterproductive, with tourists opting for the less eco-friendly road travel instead.”

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