The emergence of an ecological aspiration in France is undeniably the business of the train against the plane. The tide of time argues for rail transport, presumed more virtuous. Is it so true? In the field of economy, the aircraft fully finances its operating costs. It is, moreover, a highly taxed activity. On the average price of a Paris-Marseille, only half falls into the coffers of the carrier.
The train, on the other hand, consumes many subsidies. The passenger does not pay the full cost of production of his trip. Taxpayers come to the rescue. Do ecological benefits offset the rail tax burden? Not so sure. A full CO2 cost calculation should incorporate the billions of tons of concrete used to build high-speed lines, as well as the signaling equipment that does not fall from the sky!
The airlines, first and foremost Air France, face a hurricane of criticism, so much so that an ecologist suggested to ban planes where it competes with trains. This position ignores the crucial economic role of the short-haul to power long-haul aircraft.