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Published on Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Willie Walsh furious about Flybe rescue deal

A rescue deal to save Flybe from the brink of collapse has been attacked by Willie Walsh as a 'blatant misuse of public funds'.

In a letter to the transport secretary Grant Shapps, Walsh, the outgoing chief executive of British Airways' parent IAG, said British taxpayers were picking up the bill for 'mismanagement' of the airline.

"Prior to the acquisition of Flybe by the consortium which includes Virgin/Delta, Flybe argued for tax payers to fund its operations by subsidising regional routes," said Walsh.

"Virgin/Delta now want the taxpayer to pick up the tab for their mismanagement of the airline. This is a blatant misuse of public funds.

"Flybe's precarious situation makes a mockery of the promises the airline, its shareholders and Heathrow have made about the expansion of regional flights if a third runway is built."

BA is a rival to Flybe on some domestic UK routes, but Flybe also operates dozens of vital routes at UK regional airports where no other airline operates.

The rescue deal was welcomed by pilots' union BALPA, who said it secured the jobs of 2,400 staff and helped regional communities which would have lost their air connectivity had the airline collapsed.

"BALPA looks forward to discussing the airline's future plans in detail with management, meanwhile passengers can be confident that Flybe remains an excellent choice for regional flying," it said.

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