French state says ready to help Air France weather coronavirus storm

PARIS, March 12 (Reuters) - The French state is ready to help Air France weather the coronavirus storm as it and other airlines counted the mounting costs of the coronavirus outbreak, France's finance minister said on Thursday.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he regretted U.S. President Trump's travel ban for Europeans, adding it had come without any consultation.

Le Maire said he had spoken with Air France-KLM group chief executive Ben Smith and that the government "had all the means necessary at our disposal" to help. He gave no further details.

Shares in Air France-KLM fell sharply on Thursday morning to trade more than 7% down at 4.53 euros per share. The share price has fallen by more than half since Feb. 19. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Matthieu Protard)

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