Air France has chosen service provider C2FO to run its supplier finance programme that will enable the airline to allow its suppliers to opt for early payment of their invoices.

Suppliers will have the option of whether to participate in the programme as well as control over the rate of discount they wish to offer in return for earlier payment, according to C2FO’s announcement this week.

The Air France deal is the first time an airline has used C2FO’s programme, and forms part of the tech company’s new strategy to work closely with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an organisation that represents around 82 percent of total air traffic.

Together with the IATA and Air France, C2FO aims to improve the financial health of the airline industry’s supply chains, the company said in its press release. “We are enthusiastic about the value-ad our working capital marketplace will deliver to the air travel sector,” said C2FO managing director Antoine Trépant.

“Air France is a pioneer in the sector and we are proud to join forces with them with the support of IATA to deliver incremental value across this high-potential industry,” he said.

Air transport is typically a capital-intensive sector with airlines having to juggle fuel price volatility and rising maintenance costs alongside the need to invest in new aircraft and the latest technology.

The use of a supply chain finance programme will support Air France’s efforts to better manage its working capital, said Marc Verspyck, Air France CFO, in a statement.

“Confident in the validity of the working capital marketplace concept to create value, Air France wishes to endorse a successful trendsetter role. Innovation efforts in progress at company level are here well exemplified in the finance area. We trust industry participants involved in the airline supply chain will be soon onboarded to enhance liquidity and match interests by improving margins or capital needs,” said Verspyck.