27 Sep 2010

France cuts air fare subsidies for overseas territories

11:16 am on 27 September 2010

The number of people in French overseas territories eligible for France's national cohesion benefit scheme will drop by almost 90 percent, leaving the programme virtually dead.

The publisher of the Tahiti-Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel, says the programme subsidised up to half the air fares to France once a year for a couple earning less than 8,000 US dollars a month.

He says the programme was abused by airlines and opportunists, and because of France's financial problems, Paris has decided to make radical cuts from next month.

"The maximum wage that you can earn to be able to apply for it would be in the 900 USD a month range, which is way below the minimum wage. And maximum help would be about 450 USD and that's not even the price of the tax on the ticket."

Alex du Prel says the students who want to study in France are the main victims of the cuts.