The French government has announced that a total rescue package of €15 billion is in place to protect the country’s aerospace industry. €7.0 billion of this has already been earmarked to support Air France during a time when demand for air travel has fallen by up to 95%, along with an acceleration of orders for Airbus tankers and other military equipment. In total, over 100,000 jobs are at stake as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Part of the rescue package will include a €500 million investment fund, with a target of raising one billion, to help develop medium-size suppliers, while an additional €300 million has been earmarked for the modernization of sub-contractor plants “We must save our aerospace industry,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said as he presented the aid plan. France is also keen to see France-based Airbus retain its position as the world’s largest planemaker rather than cede its position to its long-term rival Boeing or China’s up and coming COMAC.
€1.5 billion is also being made available for a three-year research and development program into environmentally friendly aviation technology, with €300 million being available almost immediately. On behalf of multiple Airbus suppliers, the French government is also talking to banks in an effort to work out how they can manage surplus parts that have been accrued since Airbus slowed down production on its commercial jets. The French government has also agreed a one-year moratorium on the repayment of the principal of aircraft loans backed by export credit agencies from March 2020 with Italy, Britain, and Germany – worth €1.5 billion. (€1.00 = US$ 1.13 at time of publication.)