The Air France-KLM airline group has said it will provide free transport for all official partners involved in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame in Paris. The decision follows a devastating fire that ravaged the 850-year old cathedral, toppling its world-famous spire and disintegrating the roof of the iconic structure.
Benjamin Smith, the chief executive of Air France said that the airline’s employees around the world were “deeply affected and saddened” by what had happened at Notre Dame. “It is a symbol of French history, well known throughout the world, that has suffered a severe blow,” the airline said in a statement.
In the coming days, the airline also plans to set up a voluntary donation fund for Air France customers to contribute money toward the cathedral’s repair. Millions of Euro’s have already been pledged to repair the badly damaged cathedral, with €100 million alone coming from the chairman of an international luxury goods group that owns brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
The family of French billionaire Bernard Arnault and the LVMH luxury group which controls Louis Vuitton, Moet and many other luxury brands have also donated €200 million. It is not known whether the Air France-KLM will also donate money from its own coffers.
French President Emmanuel Macron said France would rebuild Notre Dame after visiting the site and speaking with emergency service personnel. At least one firefighter was seriously injured in the initial response to yesterday evening’s unfolding drama but luckily no other injuries have so far been reported.
While the damage to the Medieval cathedral is clearly extensive, the full extent of the destruction won’t be known for days or even weeks. It’s believed that widespread restoration efforts were the cause of the blaze but up to 50 investigators have been assigned to the case to work out exactly what happened.
Macron had been expected to address the nation last night on plans to curb the gilets jaunes or yellow vest movement that has seen protestors take to the street and cause serious disruption in a number of French cities including Paris since November. The sometimes violent protests have dented France’s tourism sector and Air France said the movement had cost it at least €15 million in lost sales.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.