Cheap flights cannot continue ‘while the planet burns’, says Green Party MEP

A Green Party MEP says cheap flights cannot continue ‘while the planet burns’.

People may decide to take a last-minute trip after finding cheap flights online or base their summer vacation around the most affordable destinations.

But as the global environmental crisis worsens, cheap flights could be a thing of the past.

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And Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe said ‘the €10 theft across Europe’ must end if the world is serious about tackling climate change.

Mr Cuffe told Newstalk: “I think the big picture is that we are in a climate emergency, we have to act.

“One of the first things we can do is to fly less, and I think with the rise of remote working in this COVID era, we’ve all learned how to do that and how to do it successfully.

“And I think we just can’t go on with €10 flights halfway across Europe while the planet is burning.”

Instead, Mr Cuffe suggested people use other infrastructure such as trains to travel between countries, using his own experience to prove his point.

He said: “I’m working a lot from Brussels, and I’m hoping to go to a conference in Vienna in May, and I’m just going to jump on a night train, get on the train, get on a [cabin]fall asleep and wake up rested in Vienna.

“Alternatively, I could take a two-hour flight, and for a trip like that, it [the train] is a sensible alternative with a much lower carbon footprint.”

Taking the train can reduce carbon emissions by up to 50% compared to flying, as it is designed to carry a large number of passengers, so emissions per capita are significantly lower.

However, responding to Mr Cuffe’s suggestion, Cityjet founder and chairman Pat Byrne said the trains were not suitable for everyone with busy working lives.

He said, “Have you tried to work on a train?”

“Have you tried working on the train that goes from London to Paris? From London to Brussels?”

He added: “A night train isn’t exactly cheap, and there’s also been a decrease since 2010 in the number of night trains, so they’re not that easy to use.”

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