French lawmakers have moved to ban short-haul internal flights where train alternatives exist, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions

Over the weekend, French lawmakers voted in favour of a bill to end routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours.

Connecting flights will not be affected, however.

The planned measures will face a further vote in the Senate before becoming law.

Airlines around the world have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with website Flightradar24 reporting that the number of flights last year were down almost 42% from 2019.

The measures could affect travel between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux.

But the French government had faced calls to introduce for even stricter rules on domestic flights.

France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed.

Saturday’s vote came days after the French government more than doubled its stake in Air France. The government had previously offered €7bn ($8.3bn, £6bn) in loans to help the airline weather the pandemic, although France’s economy minister said at the time the funding was dependent on the airline scrapping some of its domestic flights.

This is not the first time similar measures have been introduced.

Last year, Austrian Airlines replaced a flight route between the capital Vienna and the city of Salzburg with an increased train service, after receiving a government bailout with provisions to cut its carbon footprint.

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