French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani has said Europeans are increasingly choosing fast rail over air travel as a mode of transport
The corridor between Paris and London is no longer the world's busiest air route, as some surveys have shown that 90 per cent people choose to travel by fast rail instead.
"The air traffic between these two countries and two cities ... is less and less because we have high-speed trains," the Age quoted Mariani, as saying.
"If ... Paris and London or Paris and Brussels disappears off the most important [air route] list ... it's because everybody takes the train", he added.
Mariani evinced interest for fast rail during a tour of French conglomerate Thales' futuristic Melbourne air-traffic control research, development and training center project.
Mariani called on Australian Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian and New South Wales counterparts Terry Mulder and Gladys Berejiklian, and evinced keen interest of French rail companies being involved in an Australian high-speed rail project.
He said he visited Australia was to "make the point about the project of high-speed railway ... [because] you are having a debate about whether it is necessary or not".
"The French companies are interested, too, because Alstom has great experience, because one of the first fast trains in the world was in France," Mariani said.
The latest study by the technical and management support services firm, AECOM, has estimated the cost of establishing high-speed rail linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane between 61 billion dollars and 108 billion dollars.
The study is a setback to Melbournians, who are demanding a fast train to connect airport as it found that a fast train "will not provide a suitable airport rail link".