Home Travel & Adventure Spain Plans Ban on Short-Haul Flights When Alternative Train Trips Are Available

Spain Plans Ban on Short-Haul Flights When Alternative Train Trips Are Available


Spain is planning to ban short-haul flights that can be handled by trains for trips of less than two and a half hours.

Such a decision follows the government’s goal to reduce the carbon emissions from aviation, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The decision is part of the coalition pact signed by Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) and Yolanda Díaz (Sumar), as reported by 20 Minutos.

Moreover, authorities will analyse the European Directive to consider restricting private jet flights and taxing kerosene used as fuel in the aviation sector.

In addition to Spain, France has already taken a similar measure in December 2022, which also included private jet usage for short trips. The decision is set to remain will remain effective for three years, after which it must be reassessed by the Commission.

This Initiative Could Reduce Over 300,000 Tons of CO2 Annually, Study Reveals

A study conducted by Ecologistas en Acción last year revealed that such a measure would reduce more than 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year in total.

Furthermore, the study forecasted this measure would affect about 21,000 annual flights and three million travellers.

According to this report, short-haul flights with at least four daily frequencies in each direction and that could be replaced by train journeys lasting less than four hours include:

  • Barcelona – Valencia – Barcelona
  • Madrid – Málaga – Madrid
  • Madrid – Pamplona – Madrid
  • Madrid – Santiago de Compostela – Madrid
  • Madrid – Seville – Madrid

Meanwhile, flights with less than four daily frequencies in each direction and that could be replaced by train trips of less than four hours include:

  • La Coruña – Madrid – La Coruña
  • Granada – Madrid – Granada
  • Logroño – Madrid – Logroño

However, a study by Greenspace analysing 14 routes to and from Spain found that train travel costs nearly four times more than flying. Greenspace further noted that Spain ranks second after the UK in terms of the significant price gap between rail and air travel.

On 13 out of 14 routes analysed within, from and to Spain, the cheapest option is always or almost always the most harmful one: the plane. In Spain, even domestic flights are systematically cheaper than the train. The only exception found was the route from Madrid to Barcelona.


Not Everyone Is in Favor of Short-Haul Flights Ban

According to a report published by the Spanish airline Iberia, domestic flights accounted for less than one per cent of total CO2 emissions in Spain.

Speaking further on this issue, the company’s Global Sales Director, Beatriz Guillén, stated that without domestic flights, it’s not possible to serve the millions of travellers needing connections to medium- and long-haul flights.

Until there is a true intermodal system that allows an efficient connection of the airports with high-speed railways, it is impossible to replace short-haul flights with rail travel.

Beatriz Guillén, Director of Global Sales at Iberia

In addition, the opposition parties, PP and Vox, are against the ban. The latter stated that it would make Spain “less competitive,” as reported by Euronews.

Meanwhile, Guillermo Mariscal, a member of the PP, thinks the ban is “ineffective” as it would only reduce emissions by 0.06 per cent, according to data from the College of Aircraft Engineers (COIAE).

However, it is still uncertain whether this measure will be applied or which flights will be affected. The measure should go through several procedures and be approved by respective authorities before it becomes effective.

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