There’s a lot of talk about the environment right now, with Just Stop Oil protesters trying to raise awareness of climate change and the COP27 conference just about to begin. So is it about time we started rethinking our travel habits?
Ryanair has just introduced three new routes with Newquay airport, connecting the Cornwall destination with Dublin, London and Malaga. The expansion of its 2023 schedule will deliver more than 25 weekly flights across five routes in total and will support more than 90 jobs.
While it’s probably brilliant news for the residents of Cornwall who have access to more direct flight routes (and more jobs too), the domestic routes seem a bit OTT, given that the journey between Newquay to London is completely doable via train, coach or car.
In October, Time Out reported that the UK is experiencing a revival of domestic flights, even though flying is absolutely awful for the environment (planes produce more carbon emissions per traveller than trains, coaches and even private cars). And the shorter the trip, the more flagrantly bad it is – because more often than not, those journeys could quite easily have been taken by train or bus.
So it feels like a backwards step that Ryanair recently announced the relaunch of other domestic routes such as Stansted-Edinburgh. Similarly, EasyJet launched 12 new domestic routes last year, including Belfast to Leeds, Liverpool to Bournemouth and Inverness to Newquay (all of which are doable by train or coach).
Meanwhile, other countries are considering banning short-haul flights altogether. Back in April, the French government banned flights where a train or bus alternative takes two and a half hours or less, and Germany is debating banning short-haul flights altogether. Spain has also said it wants to eliminate them by 2050.
Yeah, the UK is falling behind in that respect – but can we blame people for wanting affordable travel during a cost-of-living crisis (even if it’s at the expense of the climate)? To celebrate the launch of the new routes and encourage passengers to book tickets, Ryanair is launching a seat sale with fares from £24.99 for travel from April 1 to October 2023. This is, of course, much cheaper than train tickets, with the rail fare for a Newquay-London journey costing an average of £44 (and much, much more at peak times).