France is keen to reduce its carbon emissions and is sometimes exceeding European requirements in this regard.

Article L. 6412-3 of the French Code of Transport was recently amended to provide that there should be no scheduled domestic flights where the national rail network operates a direct service of less than two-and-a-half hours on the same route. The ban could be extended to cargo flights in the future.

The French Airports Union, the European branch of the Airports Council International and the Syndicate of Independent Airlines have lodged complaints with the European Commission against the French prohibition, arguing that it does not comply with European law.

The new French rule should have entered into force on 27 March 2022. However, the ban is yet to become effective as a further decree, specifying the terms of the rule and its exceptions, is yet to be published. Drafts of the decree have been provided to the Commission, which is still reviewing the compliance of the ban with European law.

The Commission has not stated publicly when it expects to render its decision on the French ban on short haul domestic flights. In the meantime, such flights may continue to operate.

For further information on this topic please contact Charles Derollez at Odi-se Avocats by telephone (+33 1 7935 0750) or email ([email protected]). The Odi-se Avocats website can be accessed at www.odise.com.