Coronavirus aid: Air France ‘must cut domestic flights to get state loan’


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Most of the airline's fleet is landed

A French government plan to rescue Air France depends on the airline taking out some domestic flights, the country's economy minister said.


Air France should become "the most environmentally friendly airline," Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio.

The government approved a loan of 7 billion euros (6.15 billion pounds) to Air France, which was hit hard by coronavirus restrictions.


On Monday, the European Commission approved the proposal, saying it complied with EU state aid rules.

In his radio interview, Le Maire said that the coronavirus crisis offered the opportunity to "reinvent our model of economic development to ensure that it is more respectful of the environment".

He added that this means that several domestic Air France routes would need to follow.

"It is obvious that today several domestic routes are no longer justified," he said, without giving further details.


"When you can travel by train in less than two and a half hours, there is no reason to take a plane."


Like most airlines, Air France has drastically reduced its activities. The company currently operates about 5% of its scheduled flights.

Last month, Air France-KLM obtained at least € 9 billion in government aid, while the group of French-Dutch airlines struggles to stay afloat because of the coronavirus outbreak.

French officials said Air France would get € 3 billion in loans and another € 4 billion in funds guaranteed by the state.

The Dutch government has said it is preparing between € 2 billion and € 4 billion in aid to KLM.

Earlier this year, Air France-KLM estimated that the outbreak would cost the group between € 150 million and € 200 million between February and April.

The two airlines merged in 2004.

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