The programmatic agreement to form a new progressive coalition government reached between PSOE and Sumar includes the commitment to promote the reduction of domestic flights on routes where there are rail alternatives of less than two and a half hours, except in cases of connection with airports. that link with international routes.
The second vice president of the Government and leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, indicated during the presentation of the agreement that “the train is called to be the transportation of the 21st century”, which is why they have agreed “that short flights must end.” as long as “there is an alternative by train.”
In Spain there are several daily flights between Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Seville, Valencia and Madrid, all of them with an alternative high-speed train route that takes around two and a half hours. However, none of them connect directly with the Barajas airport, the ‘hub’ from which most international flights depart, although there is a project that dates the entry of high speed at the airport in the coming years.
In other countries such as France, flights that travel distances of less than 400 kilometers or that have a rail alternative of two and a half hours have already been prohibited, which has had an immediate effect on air links between Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris-Orly. .
In Spain, the president of the Association of Air Lines (ALA), Javier Gándara, explained last week that, since the railway market was liberalized, there has been a transfer from plane to train, “something reasonable”, and he trusts the freedom of decision of the client to determine the evolution of this model change.
However, he considers that the train should be a “complementary” means, not the only one, and that it will gain popularity among those whose final destination is the cities served by the train.
However, it estimates that around 10% of passengers who use connections between Madrid and the other five major Spanish capitals are connecting passengers. If they had to use the train, their travel process would be slowed down (two checkpoints, luggage check-in, etc.).
For this reason, he has stressed that these flights are necessary and that, if prohibited, it would not mean a shift to the use of the train, but rather that these passengers would continue flying from their airport of origin, stopping at other large European hubs to the detriment of Madrid.
The president and CEO of Iberia, Fernando Candela, spoke along very similar lines this Tuesday during his speech at Global Mobility Call.
Candela has stressed that to eliminate short-haul flights it is necessary that travelers who live outside Madrid have easy access to Barajas airport because, “otherwise, these passengers will prefer to travel through Paris, London or Frankfurt.” , and has demanded a “real and efficient intermodality” with which the high-speed train reaches T4 of the Barajas airport.