March 14, 2020 / 1:07 PM / 21 days ago

France not yet considering capital injection for Air France-KLM - official

Journalists attend a new conference where Air France-KLM announce their 2018 annual results in Paris, France, February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is not at this stage considering a capital injection for Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) to help it weather falling revenues due to the impact of the coronavirus on its business, a French finance ministry official said on Saturday.

Citing a source close to the matter, daily newspaper Les Echos had reported earlier in the day that it was under consideration.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Air France-KLM chief executive Benjamin Smith had spoken on Friday to discuss measures that the government could take to support the airline, it said.

“As of today there is no recapitalisation. The subject today for Air France is how to get over this difficult moment to deal with the sharp drop in turnover.” the official said, confirming that Le Maire and Smith had spoken.

In an interview on Friday, Le Maire said that the state could help all companies in which France had a stake.

Airlines around the world are grappling with the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating global costs would exceed $100 billion.

KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM, said on Friday it planned to slash up to 2,000 jobs and ask for government support as it cuts working hours by one-third for its entire staff.

Air France declined to comment.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Gwen Barzic and Mathieu Rosemain; writing by John Irish; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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