This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The French government on Tuesday announced a €15 billion ($17 billion) aid program to support the country’s aviation industry. The package includes €7 billion already committed to support flag carrier Air France and to bring forward orders for Airbus tanker aircraft for France’s military forces.
Finance minister Bruno Le Maire announced the support at a press conference in Paris attended by the president of French aerospace industry group GIFAS and the chief executives of Dassault, Safran, Thales, and Airbus. He said the government has acted to save an estimated 100,000 jobs threatened by the Covid-19 crisis.
The aid package, comprising funds not previously committed to the industry prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, consists of multiple tranches of support, including a moratorium on the repayment of €1.5 billion principal on aircraft loans supported by France’s export credit program. The government earmarked €1.5 billion to support research and development into digital and reduced carbon technology for aviation over five years. €300 billion of this fund will be available to French companies during the remainder of 2020.
The support package also includes €500 million (potentially rising to €1 billion) to help medium-sized aerospace suppliers. A further €300 million is to help subcontractors to modernize their production facilities.
Le Maire told reporters that the French government is determined to play a leading role in protecting the future of Europe’s aviation industry. He said Airbus cannot surrender its position in the global market to U.S. rival Boeing and China’s Comac group.