Air France is to begin carbon offsetting every domestic flight booking. The change comes as interest in the flight shaming movement grows globally. The mandatory carbon offsetting will come into effect from the start of 2020.
Around the world, more and more attention is being drawn to the ecological impact of flying. The aviation industry is responsible for 2.5% of the world’s CO2 emissions. As such, it comes as no surprise that airlines are doing what they can to cut the carbon footprint of their flights. Domestic flights in EU countries, in particular, have come under fire, as they can often be replaced by a train ride.
The problem with domestic flights
While you can’t really avoid a flight travelling from London to Sydney, the same cannot be said about a number of domestic flights. Taking a French example, let’s take a look at the route from Paris to Lyon. The route between Paris and Lyon is just over 240 miles as the crow flies.
The average flight between Paris and Lyon is scheduled to take just one-hour and six-minutes. By contrast, the average direct train takes two-hours and one-minute. Simply looking at this, the flight is half of the time of the train.
However, once you take into consideration the extra faff of flying such as reaching the airport, clearing security, etc.. is it still advantageous to take the flight? There are also over twice the number of trains as flights, increasing flexibility of arrival and departure times.
Air France’s answer
In order to be proactive with dealing with the effect of domestic carbon emissions, tied with growing public dissatisfaction, Air France is to begin mandatory carbon offsetting with regards to domestic flights.
From the 1st of January 2020, the new policy will come into effect. According to the airline, this change will affect over 450 flights per day representing over 57,000 customers. However, this will only apply to flights within mainland France.
Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France, said:
“We must step up the transition to a more sustainable form of air transport and we are voluntarily making new commitments for today and 2030. I have decided to introduce measures for offsetting 100% of the CO2 emissions generated by our domestic flights as of January 2020 to ensure all our customers have the possibility of carbon neutral flights throughout France”
Air France is not alone in taking steps to address its carbon emissions. Low-cost carrier Ryanair has begun to release monthly CO2 statistics, pledging to drop its emissions to just 60g of CO2 per passenger per kilometre.
Air France, on the other hand, measures its impact in litres of fuel per passenger per kilometre. The French flag carrier intends to drop its fuel per passenger per kilometre usage by 50% to just three litres.
Ryanair has also suggested that emissions could be cut by 10% if “[EU] member states to reform the European skies and tackle Air Traffic Control (ATC) monopolies”.
This is a view shared by the CEO of airBaltic who on the topic of emissions taxes previously told Simple Flying “They should rather fix the air traffic control system in Europe and sort out amongst themselves how we can have a single European sky to avoid emissions and avoid delays, that would be much more effective”
What do you make of Air France’s commitment to carbon-neutral domestic flights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.