EU approves USD4.7 billion in state aid to carrier Air France

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union (EU) has approved USD4.7 billion in government aid for national carrier Air France as it struggles through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In return for the aid, the carrier has promised to make slots available to competitors at the busy Orly airport in Paris.

“The public support will come with strings attached,” said EU Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

Last year, Air France got EUR3 billion in direct loans from the French state as part of a recapitalisation of up to EUR4 billion .

The French government, the airline’s largest single shareholder, has said it was essential to save the national carrier but it is not considering nationalising Air France.

In exchange for the bailout, the government set conditions of profitability and more environmentally sustainable, less polluting policies.

Air France planes parked on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. PHOTO: AP