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HomeLatest NewsVueling opens a Barcelona-Toulouse route that revives the debate on short flights

Vueling opens a Barcelona-Toulouse route that revives the debate on short flights

Date: March 3, 2024 Time: 19:10:49

The Spanish airline Vueling, belonging to the IAG group, will recover its pre-pandemic air traffic levels this summer, operating up to 278 different routes, nine of them new, and with a vast majority (241) to or from Spain. But one of them is giving people talk, since the world of 2023 is not the same as it was four years ago. This is the link between Barcelona and Toulouse (France), a route canceled due to the pandemic that will be offered again amid controversy over the suitability of providing such short routes by air in the midst of the climate crisis.

Vueling’s offer includes four weekly flights (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) from July 1 to October 27, 2023. The usual price ranges from 30 euros, which, given the time savings and the cost of gasoline, continues Offering itself at a very competitive price, and it grows to a maximum price of 79.9 euros. The ‘low cost’ will operate this route without competition beyond the one that Iberia already has today -from its same business group- from Madrid.

One hour by plane, 4 by car

Barcelona and Toulouse are separated by 250 kilometers in a straight line and some 400 by road, a journey that, after passing through Perpignan and Narbonne, takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes. If you opt for the plane, that same journey is done at an exact time, the time it takes for the aircraft to leave El Prat and land in Toulouse – Blagnac.

Precisely because of this short duration of the journey, in France the controversy of whether this type of short flights should continue to operate has revived. A few months ago, the French Government agreed to study the prohibition of this type of flight, provided that it could be replaced by the train and its duration was less than 2 hours and a half.

Although eight flights were initially proposed, the European Commission only reduced three of them, those linking Paris-Orly airport with Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon, while maintaining those departing from or arriving at Charles de Gaulle, the Paris international airport, at prefer as prolive flights to be used as a link to other international routes. In this case, as it is an international route, only the European Commission could decide to limit it, an option that does not seem to be on the table given the background.

The most polluting option

But in the case of this international flight, the controversy has jumped to the French media, and therefore to the public, because opting for the plane to travel between Toulouse and Barcelona means using the means of communication that generates the most pollution, even more than the private car: 64 kilos of CO2 per passenger —if the plane is full—compared to the 61 kilos emitted by a single traveler in his vehicle, according to the government agency ADEME for the Ecological Transition.

According to state television TF1, the mayor of Toulouse, Jean-Luc Moudenc, justifies the opening of the route because “the duration of the train trip is quite dissuasive”, while by bus, the journey can take up to 6 hours and 50 minutes Different testimonies collected by the chain suggest that the majority option of the French is to use their cars or reserve seats in shared travel applications to travel to the city of Barcelona.

The railway alternative that does not arrive

Between 2013 and 2020, both cities were linked by train thanks to the current cooperation between the railway operators SNCF and Renfe, which sold joint banks making use of the relations that then carried the AVE from Madrid to Marseille and the French TGV between Barcelona and Paris. . With the arrival of the pandemic, these routes were no longer served and the French operator broke with its Spanish counterpart to compete within the framework of railway liberalization.

To this day, an alternative to travel to both destinations by train is still in force, although since it is not direct or has high speed on its route —only on the Spanish side— it makes it lose competitiveness compared to planes or cars. SNCF has rail services that, after changing in Narbonne, allow this journey to be completed in a minimum time of 3 hours and 42 minutes, a duration that could be reduced if a direct train was established to Barcelona Sants, such as those that already operate from Lyon.

Waiting for the high speed

The controversy, fueled by the statements of different rulers of the Occitania region, once again puts the focus on the construction times of the French high-speed rail. The Macron Executive planes point to 2032 for the extension of the fast network between Montpellier and Perpignan, to connect there to the Pertús international tunnel that already allows circulation at more than 250 kilometers per hour.

However, the latest statements by senior French leaders cast doubt on these milestones, theoretically endorsed at the last Spanish-French summit in which the Spanish Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, assured that her counterpart had promised to have the high speed to Montpellier in 2030. The French ambassador in Spain later assured that Moncloa acted “unilaterally” by promising that date.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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