Air France to cut domestic flights as part of government plan to rescue the struggling airline amid Coronavirus crisis.
FRANCE’S government plan to rescue Air France relies upon the carrier scrapping some domestic flights and country’s Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, also said that they must become “the most environmentally respectful airline.”
The government has approved a €7 billion loan to the struggling Air France, which has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the European Commission approved the proposal, saying it met EU rules on state aid.
In an interview, Le Maire said the Coronavirus crisis provided an opportunity to “reinvent our model of economic development to ensure it is more respectful of the environment.”
However, he added that this meant a number of Air France domestic routes would need to go. “It is obvious that today a number of 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 justification for taking a plane.”
Like most airlines, Air France has drastically reduced its activities. The company is currently operating about 5 per cent of its usual scheduled flights.
Last month, Air France-KLM secured at least €9 billion in government aid, as the Franco-Dutch airline group struggles to stay afloat because of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The French authorities said Air France would get €3 billion in loans and another €4 billion in state-guaranteed funds. The Dutch government said it was preparing between €2 billion and €4 billion in aid to KLM.