France has today launched what it said was a €15 billion rescue plan for its aerospace industry, warning 100,000 jobs were directly at stake due to the coronavirus crisis travel slump. 

The package includes some already announced measures.

It will also see an investment fund starting at €500m with a target of €1 billion to boost the development of medium-sized suppliers, and €300m of other aid to help aerospace sub-contractors modernise plants. 

"We must save our aerospace industry," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said as he presented the aid plan.

He added that Europe would not sacrifice its place on the world market - symbolised by France-based planemaker Airbus - to USgiant Boeing or China's upcoming planemaking competitor COMAC. 

France will also invest €1.5 billion over three years to support research into new environmentally friendly aviation technology, of which €300m will be available this year. 

"In total, this plan will represent more than €15 billion of aid, investment, loans and guarantees," the government said in a statement. 

The total includes €7 billion of aid already announced for Air France and an acceleration of existing orders for Airbus tankers and other military kit. 

The government was also talking to banks about how suppliers could manage surplus parts left stranded in the pipeline after decisions by Airbus and other manufacturers to slow production. 

France said it had agreed a one-year moratorium on the repayment of the principal of aircraft loans backed by export credit agencies from March 2020 with Britain, Germany and Italy - a move worth €1.5 billion.