The French government has placed several conditions on the 7.5 billion euro bailout it’s providing. The biggest one is that the airline will no longer be allowed to sell purely domestic trips between Paris and domestic cities that are within a 2.5 hour train ride of the capital.
Only passengers connecting from outside the country will be able to fly from Paris to places like Lyon, Bordeaux, and Rennes.
One hour flights will be replaced by two and a half hour train rides by French law, notwithstanding that some people will be traveling from nearby one airport to the other and will have to double connect on trains further lengthening their journeys. And if Air France flies to these cities for long haul connecting passengers with empty seats as a result of this ban it’ll be counterproductive for environmental purposes.
The airline has to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030, but there’s an accounting game going on here because the point of comparison is 2005, not 2020.
And Air France will have to replace their larger planes with more fuel efficient aircraft. This is explicitly viewed as a subsidy for Airbus.
“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 “, concluded Bruno Le Maire. The Minister of the Economy thus suggests that Air France could be strongly invited to prefer the European aircraft manufacturer to Boeing for its future purchases.
While the French government declares that Air France must become “more profitable and more competitive” it is taking steps to make that more difficult and less likely.