In total, there were 222,622 domestic flights in Norway last year, according to new figures from Avinor.
Oslo-Trondheim and Oslo-Bergen were respectively the fourth and fifth busiest air routes in the whole of Europe last year, according to Eurostat.
It is a well-known fact that Norwegians fly a lot, and in 2019 a group of researchers at NTNU joined forces to look at emissions from Norwegian air traffic in detail.
One of the findings is that the Oslo-Trondheim route alone accounts for 11 per cent of all CO₂ emissions from domestic aviation in Norway.
Most emissions between the big cities
The researchers created a model that shows the kind of emissions we got on each and every plane that flew in Norway.
The route with the largest emissions was Oslo-Bodø, which accounts for 12 per cent of the emissions from domestic aviation. All five routes with the largest emissions go to and from Oslo Airport.
– City traffic was the worst. The largest emissions are found on routes such as Oslo-Trondheim and Oslo-Bergen. These two together account for around 20 per cent of emissions on domestic routes, says climate researcher Helene Muri.
SAS and Norwegian will not answer NRK about how full individual routes are, citing competitive considerations.
– We have not looked at whether the planes are full or not, we have looked at the seat capacity. But you may have taken some of those planes yourself and seen from experience that it can be tricky, says Muri.
More to mess with
The total aviation emissions per Norwegian are also approximately twice as large in terms of CO₂ as both Sweden, Germany and France, according to Muri’s research. It includes both domestic and international flights.
The reasons why Norwegians fly so much are complex, explains Muri.
In several places in Europe, the train service is cheaper and faster than in Norway.
In a long country with many fjords and mountains, some flights will probably be unavoidable, especially on the short-haul network.
– For example, Oslo-Tromsø is a stretch where it is not easy to find alternative means of transport, says Muri.
But that does not apply to all the “worst routes”.
– The average Norwegian often has enough to travel with to be able to take a weekend trip and take these perhaps unnecessary flights. Trains in Norway are quite expensive, so when flying is cheaper and faster, you understand that people choose it, says Muri.
Choose the train to Trondheim
Domestic flights account for 2 per cent of Norway’s emissions, according to Statistics Norway. When they measure the emissions from journeys by different means of transport, airplanes come out as the least climate-friendly way of transporting passengers, while the train is at the other end of the scale.
Frida Myklebust Amdahl (22) always chooses to take the train if possible. She has to take out the calculator to calculate how many times she has taken the Dovrebanen between Trondheim and Oslo.
– 56, I came up with!
She took her first trip as a 15-year-old, for climate reasons. She begged her mother to travel by train to the Nature and Youth meeting in Oslo.
Then she fell head over heels for the train, both as a way to avoid flying, and for the journey itself. On the phone there is a separate note with the title “weird experiences on the Dovrebanen”.
– Once there was a dance band in the café cart that offered to dance. Another time there was a whole wagon full of dogs going to an exhibition, she laughs.
But Frida’s love story still belongs to the rarities. Every day there are 22 flights each way Oslo-Trondheim, according to Avinor.
Frida is clear that she is committed to the climate and keen to cut her own emissions. She is calling for cheaper, more frequent and faster train departures so that it is not only too particularly interested.
At the same time, she encourages people to see the possibilities with trains already today. Such as not having to travel to and from airports, security checks and waiting for luggage.
– It is an opportunity to work. An opportunity to relax. An opportunity to do something good for the climate, while sitting with your eyes closed, she adds.
Not easy to find alternatives
The airline industry will itself cut emissions with the help of technology. Avinor highlights electric aircraft, more efficient aircraft and fuel with lower emissions. The government also points to CO2 taxes.
Muri at NTNU acknowledges that there are geographical challenges with the development of railways in Norway, but believes that otherwise it should not be so difficult.
– The time it takes to take a train between cities in Norway has actually increased. It takes longer now than it did before. It’s a bit remarkable and takes things in a bit of a wrong direction, she says.
– Increased capacity, increased speed and the availability of stable broadband in the trains are measures that can help shift traffic from the air onto the railway network.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications did not have the opportunity to answer NRK’s questions about the case before publication.
France bans some short-haul flights
France is now to ban three popular flights from Orly airport in Paris in an attempt to reduce the country’s CO2– emissions.
Before Christmas, the European Commission gave France the green light to introduce the ban on domestic flights between Orly and the cities of Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon, writes the website Electrek.
France proposed in 2021 to ban commercial short-haul flights in the country, but was dependent on EU approval as a result of significant opposition to the proposal from the union UAF, writes NTB. The law must also place restrictions on the use of private aircraft.