On 2 December 2022 the French Government's plan to abolish flights between cities which are linked by rail with a journey time of less than 2½ hours was approved by the European Commission (EC).
As part of its policy of reducing environmental damage the French Government also intends to limit the use of private jets for short journeys, as this is seen as an issue of fairness for the population as a whole.
Initially the ban on short flights will only affect services between Paris and Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux. These measures were initially contested by the Union of French Airports (UAF) and the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe). However, after an investigation by the EC it was agreed that an article in the European Air Services Regulation could be invoked. The article states, that where there are serious environmental problems a government can decide to limit or refuse the exercise of traffic rights, in particular where other modes of transport provide a satisfactory service.
This is an example of legislation being required in order to effect modal shift.
It is to be hoped that the UK and Scottish governments follow suit, but perhaps with even stricter rules. Aircraft emissions per passenger are obviously much higher than for any other means of transport. The success of the Lumo services between Edinburgh and London in attracting air passengers shows what can be done.