After providing the national carrier with €7 billion of state aid in April 2020, France could now double its share in the airline with an injection of €4 to 5 billion by Spring 2021.
The French state, which currently holds 14% of Air France-KLM’s capital, could increase its share to almost 30%, the economic journalist François Lenglet told TF1. It would thus become the main shareholder and distance the Netherlands, which upped its stake to 14% in February 2019. The decision of the Dutch authorities had taken everyone by surprise at the time, including the board of the airline group and the French government.
The last recapitalization of Air France by France dates back to 1994. At the time, FRF20 billion (approximately €3 billion) had been injected into the ailing airline.
The nationalization of the airline is reportedly still ruled out. “We will continue to support our national airline if necessary,” Bruno Le Maire had commented in November 2020. “It is a question of national sovereignty to have our own national airline, and then behind there are dozens of thousands of jobs concerned.”
Air France-KLM Group announced that it will cut 7,580 positions in Air France and its regional subsidiary Hop! by the end of 2022.
No conditions for this new financial help have been revealed for the moment.