€7 Billion Worth Of French Aid Will Go To Air France-KLM

On Monday morning, the European Commission signed off on €7 billion ($7.7 billion) in aid from the French…

€7 Billion Worth Of French Aid Will Go To Air France-KLM

On Monday morning, the European Commission signed off on €7 billion ($7.7 billion) in aid from the French government to Air France to cushion the worst of the blow from the corona-crisis. A mix of bank and shareholder loans will now provide the carrier with desperately needed liquidity.

The European Commission has approved €7 billion for Air France. Photo: Getty Images

The bureaucratic forces have signed off

The French branch of Air France-KLM can exhale for a moment. On Monday, May the 4th, the bureaucratic forces of the European Commission announced it had approved the €7 billion bailout supported by the French government.

The aid measures consist of a state guarantee on loans from a group of banks, and a shareholder loan to the company from the French state, which owns 14.3% of Air France-KLM. While already agreed upon by the carrier, the banks, and the government ten days prior, the loan needed Commission approval as the state is guaranteeing 90% of it.

“The aviation industry is important in terms of jobs and connectivity. In the context of the coronavirus outbreak, Air France has also been playing an essential role in the repatriation of citizens and for the transport of medical equipment. This (…) will provide Air France with the liquidity that it urgently needs to withstand the impact of the coronavirus outbreak,” Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said in a statement.

Air France getty Images
The French state is guaranteeing 90% of the loans. Photo: Getty Images

Conditions and KLM

The bailout does, as previously reported, not come without conditions. Stipulations include being a “good customer” for European plane manufacturer Airbus. They also require Air France to scrap short-haul domestic routes where there is a train connection available under 2 1/2 hours, to help cut carbon emissions.

According to Bloomberg, the Netherlands is still deciding on the final details and amount for its support to KLM. Still, it has said it would land somewhere between €2 billion ($2.2 billion) and €4 billion ($4.4 billion).

These sources of funding can only be used to support each airline separately. It remains to be seen what this can come to mean for the future relationship of the two carriers. This is particularly as the French government will now gain more of a say in Air France, and it was already upset with the Netherlands matching its stake in Air France-KLM in January 2019.

Air France-KLM
KLM and the Dutch government are yet to agree on terms for a bailout. Photo: Getty Images

Why does the Commission need a say?

The amount and structure of the bailout were previously agreed upon by a conglomerate of six French and international banks, along with the government of France. However, as France is in the EU, the European Commission still needed to put its stamp of approval on it before the airline would be allowed to receive the funds.

In general, state-aid is prohibited in the EU. Except for within a few sectors such as agriculture, employment, and environment. This is to ensure a level playing field for all companies on the internal market. However, on March the 19th, just as the pandemic was taking hold, the EU adopted a State Aid Temporary Framework, allowing for an easing of restrictions.

This temporary regulation still requires that the Commission sign off on any loan where the state is guaranteeing over 70% of the amount. Loans provided without EU regulatory review may also not exceed €4 billion ($4.4 billion,) and the guarantee cannot last longer than up to six years.

Do you think we will see a KLM bailout as well before the end of the week? Should aid at this time be slowed down by the decision making process of the European Commission? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Bamboo Airways Set To Operate Rare Boeing 787 Flight To London

Bamboo Airways is set to operate a rare repatriation flight to London Heathrow next week. The trip will…

Bamboo Airways Set To Operate Rare Boeing 787 Flight To London

Bamboo Airways is set to operate a rare repatriation flight to London Heathrow next week. The trip will be Bamboo’s third European flight, following two earlier successful missions.

Bamboo Airways will operate a one-off flight to London. Photo: Bamboo Airways

Bamboo Airlines had intended to be operating regular flights to and from Europe by now. However, this has not been possible as a result of the current crisis. Indeed, some airlines have instead been suspending flights, and even their entire operations, until the situation improves. While Bamboo hasn’t been able to launch flights to Europe as expected, it has been operating repatriation flights in the meantime.

To London Heathrow

The British Government is maintaining a list of repatriation options from various countries across the world. While a vast number are being operated by carriers with a presence in the United Kingdom, some other carriers have been helping out, such as Kenya Airways.

According to the United Kingdom’s foreign travel advice page regarding Vietnam, Bamboo Airways will operate a one-off rescue flight from Hanoi to London Heathrow. The special flight will operate on the 10th of May.

QH9035 will depart from Hanoi at 02:00 local time on the 10th of May. Following the 13-hour and 15-minute flight, the Boeing 787 is due to touch down at London Heathrow at 09:15 later that morning.

Bamboo Airways, London, Boeing 787
The flight from Hanoi (HAN) to London (LHR) is scheduled to take 13-hours and 15-minutes. Photo: GCMap

Tickets are now on sale for the one-off flight, with set prices depending on the age of the traveler:

  • Adults (12+) will pay 23,363,000 VND (US$1,000);
  • Children (2-11) will pay 17,371,000 (US$743.50);
  • Infants (<2 years) will pay 2,267,000 (US$97).

According to the UK Foreign Office, passengers can book flights at a Bamboo Airways ticket office or via phone. However, to be confirmed for travel, tickets must be paid for no later than 48 hours before the flight.

In-flight experience

You may think that a repatriation flight will be a barebones low-cost situation. IE, you’re lucky to get a seat and shouldn’t expect anything else. However, this is not the case with Bamboo Airways’ flights.

According to the carrier, any passengers on the plane will be allowed to take 7kg of hand baggage and check-in a further 30kg of luggage in the aircraft’s hold. However, passengers are not able to purchase excess baggage on this trip. Also, passengers will each be served two meals during the 13-hour flight.

Bamboo Airways, London, Boeing 787
The crew will be kitted from head to toe in protective clothing. Photo: Bamboo Airways

Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787s are fitted with a couple of cabins. At the front of the aircraft are several business-class seats. These are similar to those found onboard British Airways’ new A350 aircraft. However, they lack a door.

In total, Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787 is equipped with 294 seats between three classes. There are 26 seats in the business class cabin, 21 in premium economy, and a total of 247 economy seats. On such a flight where all tickets cost the same, premium seats will likely be randomly allocated. Something that was initially seen when Norwegian first hired Hi Fly’s Airbus A380.

Will you be on Bamboo Airways’ first flight to the United Kingdom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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