Polynesia: The State should participate in the recapitalization of Air Tahiti Nui

Polynesia: The State should participate in the recapitalization of Air Tahiti Nui
Polynesia: The State should participate in the recapitalization of Air Tahiti Nui

This is an issue that has been worrying for several months already. Air Tahiti Nui, a company 85% owned by the Overseas Collectivity, saw its financial health suddenly deteriorate with the health crisis. Number of tourists divided by three in 2020, compelling reasons that have paralyzed activity since February, amortization plan for Dreamliners compromise… No doubt: the country’s finances will not be enough for ” to save »The company, which does not hope to regain the activity of 2019 for several years.

This is why Polynesian elected officials are mobilizing to obtain specific aid from the State. After Maina Sage at the start of the crisis or Moetai Brotherson in March, it was Teva Rohfritsch’s turn to challenge Paris on the issue. It must be said that the State has just announced new financial support for Air France, in particular in the form of a capital increase. A help ” necessary “, Acknowledges Teva Rohfritsch.

But what about regional companies like Air Tahiti Nui, “Just as strategic” for the fenua and who “Suffers just as much” ? “The company will have difficulty spending the year without a financial intervention from the State and the summer will be dramatic if the Polynesian borders are not reopened to tourism”, explains the senator in the hemicycle of the Luxembourg Palace, specifying that ATN has already separated from 17% of its workforce.

“We have supported Air France (…) with regard to Air Tahiti Nui, we will do exactly the same”, answers Bruno Le Maire. Recalling that ATN has already benefited from more than 7 billion francs in loans guaranteed by the State, and that it will be able to receive up to 1.2 billion francs in subsidies thanks to the “fixed cost” device, the Minister of Economy and Finance, believes that it is still necessary to find “Other support modalities” so that the company “Keep on flying”. “I have no worries about Air Tahiti Nui’s cash flow before the end of the year”, he specifies. The action will be part of the longer term and will not pass the CIRI.

Read also: Polynesia: Bruno Le Maire evokes “other methods of support” for Air Tahiti Nui

An answer still very imprecise despite several months of discussions on the subject, and which is however warmly welcomed by Teva Rohfritsch. ” Please don’t leave Air Tahiti Nui aside “, Adds all the same the senator, who recalls that” the tourism sector is vital and thousands of families live in Polynesia ».

Contacts are already made

If the parliamentarians challenge, it is the country and the company that are negotiating. Yvonnick Raffin, successor to Teva Rohfritsch at the Ministry of the Economy, moreover said this morning, during a press conference organized at the end of the Council of Ministers, that contacts with the CIRI ” had already been taken »During his visit to Paris. “They will go through the accounts, assess the support that the State can provide”, explains the minister. ” We are going to find the necessary means to perpetuate the activity of the company ”.

And among these means, recapitalization seems to be a ” obligatory passage “. This is confirmed by Édouard Fritch, who also says to himself ” optimistic »On the desire of Paris to intervene: “In terms of capital, we have reached the limit, we have put the maximum of what the law allows us”, explains the President of the Country. ” The subject for us is to find new partners. And for us it cannot be other than the State, through the CDC or the BPi… ”. This increase in capital does not “Will not do without conditions”, warns the manager. “This is not going to be done without damage. The State will put money, but it will take in front of the efforts ”, he explains with reference to Air France’s restructuring plan.

This will not prevent the country-shareholder from also having to provide substantial aid: after 2 billion francs in aid to ATN voted last year, Édouard Fritch evokes an envelope of ” two, three, maybe four billion ” this year. Because on the cash side of ATN, the president obviously does not share the confidence of Bruno Le Maire: “It holds for now because the cash flow was solid before the crisis. But by the end of the year there won’t be any more. It’s urgent “, specifies the president, who, while welcoming the action of the State in this matter, calls here also for specific attention.

Charlie René for Radio 1 Tahiti

During questions to the Senate government, Bruno Le Maire was also questioned about the situation of Air Austral, a Réunion company controlled by Sematra, a semi-public company 73.5% owned by the Réunion Region. He announced in particular a loan guaranteed by the State (PGE) of 30 million euros and 5 million euros provided by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.

Read also: Air Austral, in difficulty, will benefit from new public aid indicates Bruno Le Maire

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