10:44 GMT30 October 2020
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    Flybe was involved in last-ditch talks with the UK government about its future, amid reports that it would be closed down if ministers did not offer help to keep it flying. The UK’s biggest regional airline was also seeking to reduce the level of Air Passenger Duty (APD) in order to stimulate demand.

    A Spokesman for British PM Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the decision to save regional airline Flybe through a review of APD will be compliant with the EU's state aid rules.

    "There has been no state aid for Flybe," the spokesman said as cited by Reuters. "Any support that is given would be made on strictly commercial terms", the spokesperson added.

    The spokesperson claimed that the bailout will support regional connectivity across the UK.

    The statement comes as British Airways (BA) owner IAG complained to Brussels about the government pledging to secure government support for Flybe.

    BA slammed the state bailout as a "blatant misuse" of public funds.

    According to Johnson's spokesman, the changes in APD will also apply universally to all airlines

    The review of APD comes as the regional airline was in a frantic search of emergency funding to prevent it from collapsing.  

    APD has been heavily criticised by airline operators as unnecessarily increasing costs for passengers.

    The government confirmed its plans to bailout Flybe on Tuesday in order to keep the airline, which provides flights across the UK to destinations outside of London.

    In a tweet, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom confirmed that the government had come to an agreement with shareholders of the regional airline in order to keep the company operational.

    Flybe employs up to 2,300 people according to the company website, 2000 of which would reportedly come under threat if it were to go under.

    The governments pledge to to save the company follows the purchase and proposed rebranding of Flybe by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital in February 2019. 

    It also follows the refusal of the government to save British travel group Thomas Cook and Monarch Airlines when they fell into liquidation in 2019.


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    British Airways, European Union, bailout, Boris Johnson, Flybe
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