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The following chart is based on an analysis of 112 travel itineraries in Europe. It shows that the price gap between rail and air travel is widest in the UK and Spain, where train tickets are on average 4 times more expensive than plane tickets. In France and Belgium, for the same domestic or European journey, train travel is on average 2.6 times more expensive than air travel. In the 16 countries studied, rail was on average 2 times more expensive. The only exception is Poland, where rail travel is on average half as expensive as air travel.
The tax advantages enjoyed by the airline industry in Europe (e.g. VAT exemption on kerosene) is one of the reasons why air travel remains relatively inexpensive compared with other modes of transport.
This chart shows the average ratio of prices for the same journey by train and by plane in selected European countries in 2023.
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