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Air France-KLM face parliamentary pressure to back Airbus news
15 June 2011

French parliamentarians are being actively wooed to back a petition asking the Air France-KLM combine to place a $20-25 billion order with Airbus and not Boeing, according to a Reuters report. The report suggests that inspite of the campaign both the carriers may opt to split the order between the two commercial aircraft manufacturing giants.

According to the report, the campaign has been launched by Bernard Carayon, a member of president Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling conservative UMP party. Carayon claims he has already collected signatures from 102 members of parliament, which would account for more than one out of six members of the Lower house or the National Assembly.

"When the Americans buy American, Europeans should buy European," says Carayon, who also takes credit for authoring the popular term "economic patriotism" which connotes backing French firms.

Air France-KLM are looking to modernise their long-haul fleet and have launched a tender for 100 mid-sized Airbus 350 or Boeing 787 jets. Given the size of the order it is expected to be one of the most sought after contracts.

Air France and KLM merged in 2004 to form one of Europe's largest airlines but maintain separate networks and brands. Historically, the KLM fleet has more Boeing aircraft.

A final decision is not expected for several months.

The French government owns 15.7 per cent of Air France-KLM and 15 per cent of Airbus parent company EADS.

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Air France-KLM face parliamentary pressure to back Airbus