World

France sells 49 percent stake in Toulouse airport to Chinese-led consortium

  • This photo dated May 27, 2009, shows an outside view of the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)

    This photo dated May 27, 2009, shows an outside view of the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo dated Dec. 20, 2006, shows vehicles parked outside the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)

    This photo dated Dec. 20, 2006, shows vehicles parked outside the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo dated May 27, 2009, shows an outside view of the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)

    This photo dated May 27, 2009, shows an outside view of the Toulouse Blagnac airport, south western France. France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.(AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber)  (The Associated Press)

France's economy minister says the government is selling a 49.9 percent stake in the airport in Toulouse to a Chinese consortium looking to increase international air links in the south of France.

The Toulouse-Blagnac airport is also home to Airbus, which tests some of its largest aircraft there.

Economy minister Emmanuel Macron told La Depeche newspaper in an interview published Friday that the 308 million-euro ($381 million) stake went to the Symbiose consortium, which includes an aircraft leasing company already among Airbus' clients.

He said the airport itself — runway and buildings — would remain state property.

Macron criticized recent comments attacking the deal, saying he was having a "hard time" understanding why it's ok for the Chinese to buy planes but not part of an airport.