German Greens want to ban domestic flights by 2035

(EurActiv, 24 Jul 2019) Germany’s Greens plan to make domestic flights ‘largely obsolete’ by 2035. To this end, they want to introduce a tax on kerosene and gradually increase rail traffic. The EU, however, is far from finding a solution on how to tax air travel. EURACTIV Germany reports.

There should be no flight bans, but strong incentives for rail traffic, according to a paper of the Greens’ parliamentary group in the Bundestag, which has been quoted by the Bavarian newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The paper is calling for increased train frequency, more reliable journey times, cheaper tickets and good wifi coverage. These objectives should “ensure that rail travel becomes so attractive in the next 25 years that domestic flights are no longer worthwhile.”

To achieve this goal, the German railway system Deutsche Bahn (DB), which is entirely government-owned, is to receive €3 billion annually.

To compete with domestic lights, travel time between as many destinations as possible and to neighbouring countries should be reduced to  “a maximum of four hours”. A “European night train network” should also be re-introduced in the long term.

“It is unacceptable that the aeroplane, as the most climate-damaging mode of transport, is still being subsidised with billions of euros. The environmentally-friendly railway system, however, continues to be chronically underfinanced,” said Daniela Wagner, one of the paper’s authors, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

With their demand, the Greens are increasing the pressure on Germany’s transport ministry to push ahead with the expansion of the railway network, which is an objective stipulated in the coalition agreement between Germany’s ruling parties.

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EurActiv, 24 Jul 2019: German Greens want to ban domestic flights by 2035