Airline Air France wants help from the French government to compete with competitors from China. That writes the Bloomberg news agency based on insiders.

The Chinese airlines have an advantage because they can fly over Russia, while European airlines have to fly around the country due to sanctions.

Air France now wants the French government to limit Chinese airlines’ access to the country. For example, KLM’s sister company is considering additional taxation for Chinese competitors to make costs comparable for all airlines.

There is now a dilemma for the French government because many Chinese tourists visit the country yearly. Since the corona restrictions have been lifted in China, free access for Chinese airlines can help tourism and the economy. But that could also be at the expense of Air France, which operated 32 weekly flights to China before the corona pandemic. Now there are six more. An extension to fourteen is still pending approval from Beijing.

Air France has to fly around Russia, so the airline takes two to three hours longer each way. As a result, more fuel has to be bought, and more crew has to be taken along. On the other hand, Russia asked for a lot of money for the overflight, and Air France saved costs on this.

Airlines in the United States are also concerned about unfair competition from China. So they have asked President Joe Biden to approve additional landing rights for Chinese airlines only if they promise not to fly over Russia.

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