Flybe defends rescue plan in face of backlash from rivals

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary threatened to sue the UK government over its rescue deal

Flybe’s chief executive Mark Anderson told staff that it was in talks with the government around a financial loan.

Flybe’s chief executive Mark Anderson told staff that it was in talks with the government around a financial loan.

 

Regional airline Flybe has rebutted claims it is receiving special treatment on its air passenger duty after a growing backlash from rivals over its government rescue package.

The airline said it has agreed a payment plan with the HM Revenue & Customs for a debt of less than £10 million, rather than a whole year of the air passenger duty of around £106 million.

“This agreement will only last a matter of months before all taxes and duties are paid in full,” Flybe said.

It added: “This is a standard Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC that any business in financial difficulties may use.”

It comes as Flybe’s chief executive Mark Anderson on Thursday told staff that it was in talks with the government around a financial loan but insisted it was not a bailout. The video was first reported by the BBC.

“We are in conversation with the government around a financial loan – a loan, not a bailout – a commercial loan, but that is the same as any loan we’d take from any bank,” he said.

“The government will not lend if they do not believe there is a credible plan. No one is going to throw good money after bad,” Mr Anderson added.

The airline, which on Tuesday secured a multi-prong rescue package from the government, issued the statement after growing criticism from rival carriers.

On Thursday, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary threatened to sue the UK government over its rescue deal for Flybe.

The UK government and Flybe confirmed earlier in the week that only some of the company’s APD would be deferred but – until now – refused to put a figure on the sum. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020