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Air France-KLM Group loses €7.1 billion in 2020 amid COVID-19 travel chaos

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An Air France jumbo jet rolls behind the tail of a KLM Royal Dutch airliner at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, north of Paris. 2003
An Air France jumbo jet rolls behind the tail of a KLM Royal Dutch airliner at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, north of Paris. 2003   -   Copyright  Remy de la Mauviniere/AP Photo, FILE
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Air France and KLM lost a stunning €7.1 billion in net income amid the global pandemic that grounded international travel.

Passenger numbers in 2020 fell 67%, the French and Dutch airline said in a statement, and revenue fell 59% compared to the previous year.

CEO Benjamin Smith said that "2020 tested the Air France-KLM Group with the most severe crisis ever experienced by the air transport industry."

Smith said that state support from the French and Dutch governments had helped the company significantly.

Nicholas Hirst, chief correspondent for EU Competition at MLex, a market insight and analysis organisation, told Euronews that governments are committed to helping the companies get through the crisis.

"Basically we are seeing billions and billions of euros in loans, grants and cash being handed out to air companies in Europe, of course this has not being distributed like-for-like in an equal fashion."

Travel restrictions introduced in France and the Netherlands after the Christmas holidays have not helped the company in the first quarter of 2021.

"We begin 2021 looking forward that this year will see an upturn in traffic as soon as vaccination is deployed on a large scale and borders once again reopen," Smith said.