Low-cost bullet between Barcelona and Madrid will launch in 2021

RENFE, which is the Spanish state-owned freight and passenger trains company, celebrated 80th anniversary in January, 2021. The Spanish company started to operate low-cost bullet between Barcelona and Madrid. Both cities are the most attracted destinations in Europe. In fact, based on the world’s largest airports by international passenger traffic in 2018, the ranking of Madrid-Barajas Airport and Barcelona–El Prat Airport were 14th and 15th, respectively.

We can easily imagine that the route between Barcelona and Madrid is really busy. This is because both cities are busiest cities in the world. In fact, the flight between Barcelona and Madrid, known as “Pont Aeri” (in Catalan) or “Puente Aéreo” (in Spanish), was the busiest route all over the world until 2008. The highest number of flight operations was 971 per week in 2007. Thanks to a high-speed bullet train between two cities, the number of flight is decreasing. Even though the number of flight is fewer than the past, the route is still the busiest in Europe by number of passengers.

“Flight shame” cannot be overlooked

To combat climate change, some phenomenon are spreading and flight shame is one of them. Flight shame basically is anti-flying social movement that aims to reduce the number of flights. It ultimately leads to the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

When climate activist Greta Thunberg attended climate conferences in 2019, she decided to sail Atlantic oceans instead of using a plane. The news actually raised our awareness on climate change, or even climate crisis, and many people knew the word, “flight shame”, for the first time. Now some countries have already introduced each short-haul flight ban (or reduction, precisely) policy. For example, France took actions to reduce short-haul flights, and required Air France to cut domestic services by 40 per cent as part of a 7 billion euro package.

In the other article, we discussed how important companies take care of Environment, Social and Corporate Governance. Flight shame is related to our sustainability and climate actions. Therefore, the idea that a low-cost bullet train replaces a short-haul flight dose make sense. We expect more similar news as RENFE did in the near future.