Austrian Airlines is replacing short flights with trains as part of government aid

(CNN) – Austria’s main airline is replacing one of its flights with more frequent train services to meet the environmental criteria of recent government aid.

The company will no longer fly between the capital Vienna and Salzburg, instead operating a rail service.

As part of its recent € 600 million ($ 680 million) state aid package, the airline must reduce its domestic emissions by 50% by 2050 and complete flights where there is a direct train connection to the airport that lasts. “considerably less than three hours“.

As of July 20, up to 31 direct railways a day will run between Vienna International Airport and Salzburg Central Station, compared to three rail links a day, the airline said.

“Vienna Airport can be reached from Salzburg by train in just under three hours and without changing trains,” airline CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said in a statement. “That’s why our AIRail offer is a good and environmentally friendly alternative to flying.”

Vienna and Salzburg are 184 miles apart, and the flight between them lasted only 45 minutes. But when counting the time spent at each airport, the total travel time would be longer than 2 hours and 49 minutes by train.

Empty seats on a United Airlines flight during a coronavirus pandemic.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Passengers will retain their rights to compensation, refunds and refunds. If it misses a connecting train or plane due to a delay, customers will automatically be booked on an alternative passenger connection, the company said.

The railway service was tested in 2019, while Salzburg Airport was closed for a month due to a runway renovation and was well received, the company said.

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But before the outbreak of the flight, there was a trend of unnecessary short air travel, which some companies have already tried to take advantage of.

Last year, KLM entered into a partnership with Dutch and Belgian railway companies to replace one Amsterdam-Brussels flight a day with a train service, similar to the agreement with Austrian Airlines with ÖOB. In Germany, Lufthansa cooperates with the Deutsche Bahn train network.

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