Airlines should be forced to provide “realistic traveling times” for domestic flights, according to a public transport lobby group.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) called for the rule to be introduced as part of its Fewer Flights Charter aimed at reducing aviation’s carbon emissions.
Airline schedules do not include time spent at airports before and after flights, which can add a significant proportion to the duration of domestic trips.
For example, easyJet advertises flights between Birmingham and Edinburgh taking one hour and 10 minutes.
Most passengers doing the journey will spend at least the same amount of time at airports.
CBT’S charter states: “Require airlines to give passengers realistic traveling times for domestic flights.”
The group also wants airlines to offer free train tickets to people who book international flights, to encourage them to travel to the airport by rail instead of car.
It called for the Government to reverse the recent 50% cut in Air Passenger Duty for domestic flights, and to introduce a target for reducing how many of those trips are taken.
The UK’s aviation sector has pledged to reach net zero for carbon emissions for 2050.
An increase in the use of sustainable aviation fuel is a key part of the industry’s efforts to meet the target, while the development of zero-emission hydrogen-powered planes is also being promoted.
Norman Baker, CBT director of external affairs and former Lib Dem transport minister, said: “The Government’s strategy for achieving net-zero aviation depends on technological advancements which are decades away, when we need to cut carbon emissions now.
“The only way to do that is for a few flights to operate. Our 10-point charter offers a way to immediately reduce the aviation sector’s impact on the climate whilst simultaneously boosting the rail market.”
An airline source said many parts of the UK require domestic flights for business travel and essential connectivity, including that three out of five involve crossing water, with no alternative rail.