France has announced a €15bn rescue package for its aerospace industry, in an attempt to preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs and shore up the manufacturer Airbus and the national carrier, Air France.
France’s economic minister Bruno Le Maire said the aerospace support plan would be in the form of aid, investment, loans, and guarantees to protect the industry from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The French aeronautics sector, which represents 300,000 jobs and 58 billion euros ($65 billion) in turnover, is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels before 2023, with demand for flights, and therefore new planes, taking a beating during the pandemic.
Airbus, one of the world’s two largest aircraft makers along with Boeing, has its operational headquarters in Toulouse, France.
France said on the announcement of the bailout that it wants to be at the forefront of the decarbonization of world air traffic, with Le Maire saying that the country plans to produce “clean planes and helicopters of tomorrow.”
Le Maire also announced that the country’s flag carrier Air France would receive 7 billion euros (about $8 billion) in loans to save the company from a potential downturn and enable the eco-friendly goal of the economy.
Some 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) have been set aside for the Council of Civil Aeronautical Research to facilitate development of “clean aircraft” technologies.
One of the economy’s long-term plans is to ensure the production of carbon-neutral aircrafts by 2035.
The aid package also includes € 500 million ($564 million) for small and medium-sized suppliers since July 2020, and € 300 million ($338 million) for subcontractors to streamline and improve their businesses to cope with the blow of the pandemic on demand.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong announced a $5.2 billion rescue package for its flag carrier Cathay Pacific. In late May, the German government approved a $9.8 billion aid package for its state-owned airline Lufthansa, leaving it with a 20% stake in the affected airline.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed into law a grant worth $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees for major US passenger airlines, and an additional $4 billion for cargo air carriers.