The French government says it will provide 15 billion euros ($16.9 billion) for the country’s aviation industry, to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire disclosed this at a press conference in Paris, the country’s capital on Tuesday.
“We are declaring a state of emergency to save our aeronautics industry so that it can be more competitive,” Le Maire said.
“We will do everything to support this French industry that is so critical for our sovereignty, our jobs and our economy,” he added.
The money includes direct government investment, subsidies, loans and loan guarantees. It also includes a special fund jointly financed by the government, Airbus and other big manufacturers to support small suppliers.
It includes 7 billion euros in loans and loan guarantees that the government had already promised to Air France, whose planes were almost entirely grounded by the virus.
In exchange for the aid, companies will be required to invest more and faster in electric, hydrogen or other lower-emission aircraft, as France aims to make its aviation industry the “cleanest in the world.”
The aviation sector is one of the hardest hot industry by the coronavirus due to the travel restrictions imposed all over the world to contain the spread of the deadly disease.