EU proposals to scrap shorthaul flights are on track
This mighty organ has long crusaded for the introduction of jetpacks and some sort of hovering car in a bid to solve the future's transport issues. It isn't going to happen, sadly, as the European Union are too busy announcing plans to cut shorthaul flights.
According to The Guardian, the EU has made radical proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transport by 60% over the next 40 years.
The thinking goes something like this - airports can't keep building new runways to accommodate growing passenger numbers, so why not transfer shouthaul passengers to high speed rail networks, which will increase airport capacity for longhaul flights? Simples.Spain has already set a precedent for this type of switch - the introduction of a high speed rail service between Madrid and Barcelona has reduced custom on direct flights between the two cities by 50%.
Of course the topic of high speed trains in the UK is one that's never far from the news agenda, even if it is still 15 years before we experience any improvements. Even smarter train scheduling is having an impact on shorthaul flights; easyJet recently canceled their twice-daily service between Standsted and Newcastle after East Coast trains announced the introduction of a daily direct non-stop service between Newcastle and London Kings Cross.
But while such changes may beat the airlines on pollution and rival them on time spent in transit, the EU's policy will effectively eliminate the competition. Can anyone see a monopoly of train operators bothering to champion low fares? Without low-cost airlines chipping away at the market, travel may become greener but it's unlikely to become cheaper.