PARIS --- France launched what it billed a 15-billion-euro ($17 billion) support plan for its aerospace industry on Tuesday, accelerating research on a green jetliner and warning 100,000 French jobs could be lost due to the coronavirus crisis.
The plans - which include 7 billion euros of aid already awarded to Air France and bring forward some defence spending - involve a joint effort by government and industry to keep French jobs and prepare the next generation of civil jets.
The plans include a 1-billion-euro investment fund with an initial capital of 500 million euros, partly financed by planemakers Airbus and Dassault Aviation, engine maker Safran and systems firm Thales.
“We must save our aerospace industry,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, adding Europe - championed by Airbus - would not sacrifice its place on the world market to U.S giant Boeing or China’s upcoming planemaking competitor COMAC.
The move comes after Boeing called for tens of billions in loan guarantees to help U.S. suppliers. Both Airbus and Boeing buy parts in each other’s home markets and fragile suppliers are seen as an Achilles heel as manufacturers weather the crisis.
It was not immediately clear how much of the pledged public-private money was new, however. One person close to the talks acknowledged it involved a certain amount of “packaging,” though Le Maire insisted only the Air France aid was already planned. (end of excerpt)
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