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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
France offers state aid to airlines
An Air France jumbo
French airlines will get state aid with security costs
The French government is offering the country's airlines up to 2bn francs ($277m; 191m) to help the stricken industry deal with the fallout from the 11 September attacks on the US.


Since 11 September, the airline and aeronautical world is in crisis: a crisis that is probably more serious than the one it went through during the Gulf War

Jean-Claude Gayssot
French transport minister
Half the money, which is intended in part to assist with the cost of heightened security, will come in the form of direct aid, the transport minister Jean-Claude Gayssot said.

The rest will be paid for through higher airport taxes, which will rise by about 15 francs.

"In total, 2bn francs are necessary to cover the reinforcement of security measures and the economic consequences of the attacks," he said.

"Since 11 September, the airline and aeronautical world is in crisis. A crisis that is probably more serious than the one it went through during the Gulf War."

New airport security measures are to be brought forward too, with more luggage checks and better oversight of freight traffic.

That could create up to 3,200 jobs, according to the transport ministry.

International action

The proposal follows meetings with airline chiefs and aviation manufacturers.

Governments across the world have reached into their pockets to find ways of propping up an industry hit by slumping passenger numbers and the cost of the near-shutdown of US aviation in the first days after the attacks.

In Europe, though, the issue is complicated by European Commission rules which ban state funding except to help with the direct effects of an emergency.

Many European airlines say US carriers have got a better deal, in the shape of a $15bn package of grants and loans.

Better terms?

Mr Gayssot said he would be presenting the plan to a meeting of European transport ministers on 16-7 October.

But he said he wants the existing ruling - that direct state aid be limited to losses incurred in the four days following the attacks on New York and Washington DC - to be extended to 18 or 19 September.

See also:

12 Oct 01 | Business
Airlines ask EU for more aid
11 Oct 01 | Business
Question marks over Swissair rescue
10 Oct 01 | Business
Irish airline forges survival plan
10 Oct 01 | Business
Full EU statement on airline aid
04 Oct 01 | Business
EU complains over Swissair aid
23 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines receive $15bn aid boost
12 Oct 01 | Business
Round-up: Aviation in crisis
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