Home China’s one belt, one road initiative: Impact on Europe’s neglected railway system

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The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Sep 2018

China’s one belt, one road initiative: Impact on Europe’s neglected railway system

Europe’s out-of-time love for low-cost air carriers

Europe is in love with low-cost air transport. Over the past few years the low-budget end of air transport has boomed, globally and in Europe alike. The sector grows as fast as few others. More people than ever choose air transport over railways, despite the fact, that Europe still has one of the best railway systems in the world.

The recent case of Air Berlin’s bankruptcy shows clearly what is wrong with the system. The low-cost air carrier Easyjet was quick to acquire some of Air Berlin’s inner-German routes[1], including the lucrative Berlin-Munich route. Within few days after signing the deal, Berlin’s outdoor advertising turned into an aggressive orange, advertising weekend trips to the rich Bavarian capital and the nearby Alps. This news alone would be little noteworthy, if it wasn’t for the fact that, just few weeks before, a brand new high-speed railway connection between the two cities had opened for business, cutting the travel time down from around six hours, to merely four. The track enjoys more than expected attention and the German railways had to increase the frequency already after a few weeks of opening the track.

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