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Dutch airline assures govt. of $4bn COVID-19 bailout repayment

By News Desk

The chief executive of Air France-KLM’s Dutch arm, Pieter Elbers, has assured the public that the company would repay the $4 billion government-backed loans received to boost operations.

Elbers‘ assurance came months after receiving the fund set aside by the government to shore up an industry hammered by a travel slump.

The airline boss gave the assurance on Friday while reacting to reports that the company does not plan to repay the intervention funds received from the Netherland government.

He noted that rather than seek for another equity, the company would be repaying the public funds handed over to the company as a loan during the coronavirus crisis.

“I read all the suggestions and the speculations about this, but we have agreed on a loan with the government and banks,” Pieter Elbers said on a call.

“We are going to make a plan to make sure we pay off those loans,” Elbers said, adding that the environmental goal was attainable.

It would be recalled that the Dutch government announced weeks ago plans to provide bailout funds to KLM’s but on condition that it cuts emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

The move comes after Paris announced a 7 billion euro bailout package for Air France in April and as governments look to shore up an industry hammered by a travel slump expected to last for years.

As part of the package, the Dutch government will appoint an observer to KLM’s board to ensure taxpayer’s money was only on the Dutch subsidiary, but won’t have control of the business.

It will also force painful reforms, including pay and spending cuts, a freeze on bonuses and dividends, as well as ambitious environmental targets that were sought by the Dutch parliament as a condition for aid.

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