BY: Luka Trcek
As part of efforts to combat climate change in Europe, there may soon be no more short-haul flights in Spain.
Madrid could follow the lead of France, which last month banned domestic flights on short routes that can be covered by train in less than 2.5 hours.
Following the introduction of the Spanish Prime Minister’s Agenda 2050 about two years ago, which included similar measures, the authorities in Spain have already presented plans to conduct similar actions.
The carbon footprint of air travel in Spain is twice that of high-speed trains, according to an article in Murcia Today.
According to research by travel experts Mabrian and Phocuswright, a total of 5,744 flights were counted between Barcelona and Madrid in the last 12 months. By train, you can cover the same distance (630 kilometers) in about 2.5 hours.
The study presented by Mabrian also shows that total CO2 emissions from air service in 2022 were about 54,000 tons, a 132% increase in emissions over the 27,000 tons that trains to carry the same number of passengers would emit.
French Transport Minister Clement Beaune said in May that the country has banned domestic aircraft on short routes that can be covered by train in less than 2.5 hours.
“As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train,” Beaune stressed, as reported by CNN.
Additionally, Belgian lawmaker Georges Gilkinet last month called for short-haul flights in EU countries to be discontinued and replaced with better train connections.
He recommended that EU countries emulate France by switching to a more environmentally friendly form of transportation and reducing gas emissions.
However, not everyone supported the ban on short-haul flights. Willie Walsh, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), considered such a decision to be completely ridiculous. According to Walsh, it has no benefit, according to a report by EEF News Agency.
As per a report by EuroWeekly News, short-haul flights are the main source of aviation emissions in Europe, according to a study done by researchers at the University of Manchester.
The study also notes that eliminating short-haul flights of less than 500 kilometers in Europe would significantly reduce emissions from aviation, which account for 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
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