As an exchange for state aid, Air France must aggressively cut carbon emissions, which will include a suspension of domestic flight sales on routes that are well-served by high speed train.
Air France Close To Receiving €7 Billion In Aid From France
Ailing Air France is moving closer to accepting a €7 billion aid package from the French government. The carrier has been hit by weak demand and decimated revenue and now sees a loan from from France as necessary for survival.
However, France is using the bailout as a tool to further other agenda items as well. French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that it would help Air France, but two conditions must be met:
- Air France must show a clear path back toward profitability
- Air France must become the most environmentally-friendly airline in the world
Specifically, Air France must reduce its CO2 emissions by passenger and kilometer by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). It must also reduce its volume of CO2 emissions on its domestic flights by 50% by the end 2024.
Air France Can No Longer Sell Select Domestic Flights As Stand-Alone Flights
To effectuate that goal, Air France will no longer be able to sell metropolitan flights between Paris and four cities in France that can easily be reached within 2.5 hours by TGV, France’s high-speed train network.
Those cities include:
Passengers traveling to/from another country via Paris on Air France can still book these domestic connections.
Air France Will Be Used To Bolster TGV And Airbus
The move to limit domestic flights is about more than the environment, though that is certainly a key factor. It is also about protecting TGV, which has also been hit by the pandemic. The move will transfer business to TGV, which hopes to grow in the years ahead even as France already has a highly-developed rail network.
Furthermore, Le Maire also added:
“The renewal of airplanes is one of the most effective ways to reduce Air France’s C02 borrowing with the limitation of domestic flights. A new Airbus A220 or A350 can reduce emissions by 20 to 25% by plane and incidentally, it is also one of the conditions for the survival of Airbus.”
Translation: Air France is expected to buy new Airbus jets for the environment, which will also protect French jobs.
There’s always strings attached when it comes to government aid. Here, aid to Air France will include indirect aid to TGV and Airbus by requiring Air France to suspend domestic flight sales and renew its fleet with a strong preference toward Airbus aircraft.
(H/T: View from the Wing)