Air France-KLM said it will require all passengers on board its flights to wear masks from 11 May to comply with French government guidelines on Covid-19 protection measures. 

The company said in a statement that passengers would have to supply the masks themselves and would be expected to keep them on for the duration of their flight. 

Major airlines, among them Lufthansa, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, have already mandated face masks for all passengers. 

Airlines globally have taken a severe financial hit from the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting slowdown in air travel. They are now seeking to reassure customers it is safe to fly.

Some though have resisted proposals to reduce passenger numbers on each flight to ensure social distancing, saying that would be uneconomic.

The European Union's competition watchdog yesterday approved French state aid worth €7 billion for Air France, saying the support would provide cash to soften the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Airlines across Europe have sought state rescues as coronavirus lockdowns have forced them to ground their fleets for more than a month, with no end in sight. 

"This €7 billion French guarantee and shareholder loan will provide Air France with the liquidity that it urgently needs to withstand the impact of the coronavirus outbreak," the EU's top competition official Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The European Commission noted the importance of Air France, with more than 300 planes, to the French economy and the role it has played in repatriating stranded citizens and transporting medical supplies.

The commission said in its statement that the support will take the form of a state guarantee on loans and a subordinated shareholder loan to the company by the French state.

The French and Dutch governments each hold close to 14% of the Air France-KLM group, which was created by the 2004 merger between the two national carriers.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was unlikely that French people would be able to undertake major foreign trips this summer and that even trips within Europe may have to be limited in order to reduce the risk of a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic. 

"It is too soon to say whether we can take holidays. What I can say is that we will limit major international travel, even during the summer holidays," he said.

"We will stay among Europeans and, depending on how the epidemic evolves, we might have to reduce that a little more. We will know early June," Macron said. 

France is set to end its lockdown on May 11, when people will be allowed to move up to 100kms (60 miles) around their residence.