Jan 28, 2020

O’Leary says government blindsided by billionaires in Flybe deal

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary has accused the government of being blindsided by billionaires in his latest caustic intervention over a state rescue package for the struggling airline. The email, which responded to a government letter sent on January 24, continues Ryanair's public criticism of the government deal with regional airline Flybe, which Mr O'Leary describes as a "Failed business model". Publicly, Flybe has said its agreement with the government is not a bailout but a short-term payment plan for a debt of less than £10m, rather than a year-long air passenger duty bill that would likely amount to about £106m. "The government will not lend if they do not believe there is a credible plan," Mark Anderson, the airline's chief executive, told staff this month. Mr O'Leary earlier this month wrote to the government to ask that relief on air passenger duty, APD, given to Flybe should be applied to all other carriers in the UK. He argued that by giving only Flybe extra time to pay APD the government would be in "Breach of state aid rules". British Airways owner IAG said earlier this month it had submitted a Freedom of Information request to the government, requesting details on the APD deal and any short-term loan, and whether the government was a financial guarantor ensuring the survival of Flybe.

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