France and Italy Consider Nationalisation of Airlines Crippled By Coronavirus

An Alitalia airplane is seen rolling on the tarmac on June 21, 2018 at the Fiumicino Airport, in Rome. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Both the French and Italian governments are considering measures to stem the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, including possible nationalisation of major airlines.

French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire stated this week that President Emmanuel Macron’s government would take all required steps to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak which has locked down the entire country.

During a press conference, Le Maire stated in comments reported by Ouest France: “I will not hesitate to use all the tools at my disposal for companies attacked on the markets.”

“It can go through recapitalisations, it can go through equity investments, I can even use the term nationalisation if necessary. We will use all the means at our disposal,” he added.

The Italian government has also made a similar statement this week with the Council of Ministers stating in a press release that it will be looking seriously into the nationalisation of the Italian airline Alitalia.

The council said that it would provide “for the creation of a new company fully controlled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, or controlled by a company with majority public participation, even indirect”.

Of the €600 million aid package for the Italian air industry, the majority of the cash will go towards keeping Alitalia afloat.

The announcements by both governments come just days after Swedish economist Joakim Bornold warned that Scandinavian airline SAS could also face potential bankruptcy due to the coronavirus’s effect on the stock market in Sweden and other markets globally.

“SAS will probably not survive this without help. A capital injection from the owners feels inevitable. At the same time, the entire European aviation industry is in urgent need of consolidation… The coronavirus could very well be the start of such a process, and then SAS will probably disappear into a larger aviation group,” he said.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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