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Airlines to Oppose France’s Short-Haul Flights Ban …

French and European airlines plan to invoke their rights to freedom of movement in protest to the environmental restrictions on short-haul flights, which France has partially banned and Brussels has approved in December.

Groups from the air transporting industry fear the ban could open the way for wider limitations across Europe on short-haul trips, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

These airlines, in addition to airports, are working on new strategies to counter the ban on three French short-haul flights, which will be effective for three years.

“We have the principle established by the EU of an open, liberalised market with the freedom to provide air services for any European airlines between any point within Europe. And that’s basically to support the freedom of movement, people and citizens across Europe,”one senior industry official said.

Furthermore, the freedom of movement argument is one of the most sensitive topics in European politics but can be tricky due to its complexity.

The ban has impacted fewer routes than expected and as the industry bodies claim, it is ineffective in reducing carbon emissions to bigger scales. Scara, a group representing regional French airlines has been intensely calling for the original ban to be toned down, saying it would use review periods to prove the ban doesn’t have a real impact on carbon emissions.

“We’ll embarrass people with the data. If we banned all flights of less than 500 km in Europe…it would be less than four per cent of the CO2 in Europe, right? I think there’s a perception that it would be 80 per cent. It’s not a solution,” Willie Walsh, head of a global trade association for the airline told Reuters.

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The Union of French Airports plans to submit a complaint to France’s Council of State about the ban by the end of the month, and according to the Union, the routes that will be banned represent only 0.23 per cent of France’s emissions caused by air transport, 0.04 per cent of all transport sector emissions and 0.02 per cent of emissions recorded in the air transport sector.

On the other hand, environmental actors say the flight ban is too limited, as they wanted broader restrictions and are preparing to counter the industry’s efforts to remove the ban.

According to Jo Dardenne, the aviation director at the campaign group Transport and Environment, the ban is an important signal to countries that intend to reduce aviation emissions. She suggested that governments shouldn’t ignore the high rates of carbon emissions caused by long-haul flights.

Fit for 55, is an EU initiative designed to address and discuss climate change and it will become effective in the next two to three years, which is also expected to have a greater impact on environmental issues in the zone.

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