SACRE BLEU! PROTECTIONIST FRENCH GOVERNMENT WAS TO MAKE SURE AIR FRANCE IS LOOKING AFTER FRENCH JOBS

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP June 15, 2011 13:11

SACRE BLEU! PROTECTIONIST FRENCH GOVERNMENT WAS TO MAKE SURE AIR FRANCE IS LOOKING AFTER FRENCH JOBS

A French government minister (Pierre Lellouche) yesterday requested a meeting with the chief executive of Air France Pierre-Henri Gourgeon. Why? It was to question why Air France is planning to announce Boeing orders at Paris Air Show next week. The order is set to be an A350/787 joint order worth around $20bn.

Air France has come under pressure from a group of conservative parliamentarians to give Toulouse-based Airbus preference when it awards a multibillion dollar contract for some 100 aircraft next week. The deputies, led by Bernard Carayon, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling conservative UMP party, have drawn up a petition calling for Air France to choose Airbus aircraft.

In a radio interview on Monday, Carayon said Air France, as a European airline, has a duty to protect jobs at Airbus. Carayon has made a point in recent years of encouraging what he calls “economic patriotism.” “Air France isn’t Air Boeing,” Carayon said, pointing out that US airlines traditionally favour Airbus’s US-based rival.

French news agency AFP quoted Lellouche as saying Tuesday that the government had helped Air France a lot when it ran into problems with EU regulators, and that it expected the carrier to “return the favor”.

The Air France spokesman observed that 72% of the carrier’s fleet of medium- and long-haul aircraft is Airbus aircraft. Air France is 15.7% owned by the French state, which, in all honesty is not enough to justify putting this kind of pressure on the airline and forcing it into poor decisions.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP June 15, 2011 13:11
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