France won't let its national airlines - Air France and Air Inter - buy any new medium-sized aircraft from the U.S. or other foreign makers while it awaits the outcome of efforts to produce such an aircraft in Europe, French Prime Minister Barre said.
The announcement indicates that French officials have given up hopes of concluding an accord with McDonnell Douglas Corp. to produce such a plane.
Air France has been considering buying Boeing Co. or Douglas aircraft to replace its aging Caravelles, but Barre said the state-owned line would be able only to lease temporarily "a limited number of foreign aircraft."
Until a planned reorganization of the aircraft industry in France, the country's two national carriers will be under orders to give priority to French or other European medium-sized aircraft, he said.
Barre also said the government would set up a holding company to manage its interests in Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale, the French partner in the airbus group, and in Aviona Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation S.A., the privately owned concern in which the government plans to take a 33 per cent stake.
Barre said the holding company won't attempt to run Dassault but merely will supervise and coordinate production in France.