Intense Talks About Additional Support for Air France
Discussions about the conditions for additional support for airline Air France are intense. So said the French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire.
He talks to the EU about the conditions for the support. According to the minister, the European Union’s conditions must be “sustainable”, he noted.
Policymakers in Paris are known not to be fans of the idea that Air France may have to give up take-off and landing rights at Paris’s Orly airport in exchange for additional government support. Emmanuel Macron’s government believes this is a step too far and considers Air France and its position at the Paris airport to be of great strategic value.
The European Commissioner in charge of competition, Margrethe Verstager, already warned that the German airline company Lufthansa’s previous move to give up slots in exchange for state aid now serves as a precedent for other cases.
Paris understands that aid to Air France is conditional. But according to Le Maire, these mustn’t be at the expense of fair competition. For example, there is a fear that price fighters will take off with vacant slots.
Air France-KLM boss Ben Smit said earlier this month that he did not understand if “drastic measures” were imposed on Air France that would weaken Air France’s position in Paris. In order to get through the crisis, Air France-KLM has already received more than 10 billion euros in state aid. Now that the prospect of recovery is still a long way off and society’s fixed costs continue, extra support is needed.