Carbon reduction Travel France’s ban on short haul flights is controversial

France’s aviation industry, which has just won the EU’s support of 4 billion euro and is expected to recover, has suffered another “blow in the head”. France’s national assembly has passed a bill to ban civil aviation routes between cities that can be reached within two and a half hours by train in order to reduce carbon emissions, Reuters reported on April 11.

This plan has something to do with France’s “carbon neutral” plan. The French government plans to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030, which is seen as one of France’s efforts to achieve emission reduction targets. However, it still needs to be approved by the Senate before it can take effect.

Even with such drastic cuts, some environmentalists say the bill is far from enough. At a citizen climate forum set up by French President Nicolas macarone, there were calls to cancel flights on routes with less than four hours of train travel.

Peng Shuyi, a researcher at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview with Beijing Business Daily that France has always been concerned about carbon emissions and has actively promulgated many measures. And France has a climate agreement with the European Union to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2050, which should be part of their plan.

The goal of environmental protection has been achieved, but the aviation industry is inevitably hit hard. Many civil aviation companies expressed their opposition to the bill and feared that it would further crack down on the civil aviation passenger transport industry, which is struggling to recover from COVID-19.

Affected by the epidemic situation, the aviation industry will fall into an unprecedented predicament in 2020. The three major European aviation groups all suffered serious losses, among which Lufthansa group suffered a loss of 6.7 billion euro in 2020; IAG suffered a loss of 7.43 billion euro in 2020, reducing its transport capacity by 2 / 3; Air France KLM suffered a loss of 7.1 billion euro, reducing its passenger volume by 67%.

France’s aviation industry is in a slump. According to the data released by the French customs and indirect tax administration, the export volume of France was 15.9% lower than that of the previous year by COVID-19, and the export volume of aviation industry dropped by 45.5%. Air France also warned that it expects to report a loss of 1.3 billion euros in first quarter earnings next month due to the continuing impact of the epidemic.

However, Agnes pannier runacher, the French industry minister, refuted the industry’s criticism and said there was no contradiction between the rescue plan and the climate bill.

“We know that aviation is the most important source of carbon emissions, but in the context of climate change, we have to reduce that,” she said in an interview The government will give consideration to both sides, actively reducing emissions in response to climate change and helping French civil aviation enterprises recover. “Similarly, we must support the relevant enterprises, not let them fall behind.”

Just days before the vote, the French government said it would inject 4 billion euros into Air France and more than double its shareholding to support its financial position after the outbreak. In addition, some media disclosed that the French government may provide another 3 billion euro government loan for Air France.

In addition to financial support, in the acceleration of vaccination, the aviation industry also ushered in the hope of recovery. Zhu niac, chairman and chief executive officer of the International Aviation Association, said that the recovery prospect of the global aviation industry is still optimistic in the long run, especially the people’s willingness to travel is still very strong, and the family economy of most international passengers is in good condition. “We need to reopen the border as soon as possible while ensuring safety, and gradually abolish the isolation policy, so as to restore people’s confidence in travel.”

According to the recent passenger opinion survey conducted by the International Aviation Association, people’s confidence in re choosing air travel is increasing. 57% of the respondents said that they would choose air travel within two months after the epidemic is under control, an increase of nearly 8 percentage points over the third quarter of last year.

But as far as I can see, the impact is still going on. Industry insiders pointed out that the recovery of the global aviation industry is facing multiple challenges due to the rebound of the epidemic situation in many places and the continuous closure policy. The International Aviation Association recently lowered the global civil aviation industry recovery expectations, believing that the aviation industry will still experience a very difficult period before the full recovery. McKinsey analysts even predict that air traffic may not return to pre crisis levels until 2024.

Rik Luhmann, a senior aviation expert at Dutch international group, said that the aviation industry also faces other risks, such as the recent rising fuel prices. As the fuel cost accounts for 15% – 30% of the total expenditure of airlines, the continuous rise of oil prices in the future will put more pressure on airlines that are already facing severe financial risks and drag down the pace of recovery.

Peng Shuyi said that as part of “carbon neutralization”, the plan should have been made before there was an epidemic. In the face of the current complaints, there may be flexibility. As before, when the fuel tax was adjusted in France, the mood of the people was very strong, and even there were strikes and protests.

In addition, in order to reduce carbon emissions, it will inevitably lead to unemployment and re employment.

Beijing Business Daily reporter Tao Feng Zhao Tianshu

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