Belgian parties want short-haul flights replaced by train rides
Wednesday, 06 March 2019
The CD&V (Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams) and Groen (Flemish Greens) would like short-haul flights replaced as far as possible by train journeys. The CD&V party have introduced a resolution containing several alternatives to reach this objective. The Flemish Greens intend to ensure that train journeys are ultimately the lowest-cost option for journeys below 1,000 kilometres.
Currently, passengers pay no tax on airline fuel or VAT on airline tickets, stressed Stefaan Van Hecke (Groen) and Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V). Air travel being taxed to a lower degree than train journeys means that it sometimes works out cheaper.
“As an economic model this is untenable,” said Mr Van Hecke. He would like airlines to stop selling cut-price tickets with the introduction of fair competition between trains and aeroplanes. To achieve this, it would be appropriate both to invest in better infrastructure and improved rail frequency, he went on.
The CD&V very much agrees with these ideas. An inquiry ought to be conducted upon the possibilities for replacing short-haul flights with train journeys, says Vincent Van Peteghem, going further in this regard. For change to happen the authorities, rail and airline players but also airports, should develop a common vision to improve high-speed train links between certain cities.