Air France will survive pandemic, minister pledges

France’s finance minister today said that the government would continue to prop up struggling flag carrier Air France through the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Bruno Le Maire said: “I can guarantee the survival of Air France, we decided from the very beginning to support Air France and we will continue to do so”.

He also said that officials would try to keep the carrier’s partnership with Dutch carrier KLM intact, saying it benefitted both countries.

The combined Air France-KLM group has already received over €10bn (£8.9bn) in government support as the collapse in air travel hammered the company.

On Friday global aviation body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that governments would have to spend a combined $80bn (£60bn) more to keep their carriers afloat.

They have already spent about $160bn on bailouts and rescue packages since the spring.

The warning came despite the announcement that two coronavirus vaccines, by Pfizer and Moderna, were over 90 per cent effective.

This morning they were joined by a third, Astrazeneca and Oxford University’s candidate, which scientists said could prove equally effective against the new disease.

The announcement prompted shares in airlines to surge on the hope that international travel may open up again far earlier than anticipated.

But Australian airline Qantas said that it was making plans to make it compulsory for international passengers to prove they had received the vaccine before travelling.

Chief executive Alan Joyce told Australian media: “We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travellers, we will require passengers to have had a vaccination before they get on the aircraft”.

He added that although the precaution would be a necessity for international travel, Qantas had not decided whether domestic travellers will also require the vaccine.




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