Ryanair boss threatens legal action against government over Flybe bailout

16 January 2020, 18:20

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has criticised the government's bailout
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has criticised the government's bailout. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has threatened to take legal action against the government over its decision bail out rival airline Flybe.

In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Mr O'leary demanded that the air passenger duty break given to Flybe is unfair, and should also be afforded to other airlines.

He said that unless this happened, the deal out forward would go against rules of state aid and compensation rules.

The CEO also said a statement made by business secretary Andrea Leadsom about Flybe having a viable business model is "absurd", and that the business will "fail again".

His letter said that Ryanair will launch the proceedings unless the tax break is also given to airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways within the next week.

The Ryanair chief executive also called for the government to set out full details of the air passenger duty (APD) break given by the government to Flybe.

British Airways, who are owned by International Airlines Group, have also perviously lodged a complaint with the European Union about the deal, calling it a "blatant misuse of public cash".

The letter was written to Sajid Javid
The letter was written to Sajid Javid. Picture: PA

Mr O'Leary said: "This government bailout of the billionaire-owned Flybe is in breach of both competition and state aid laws.

"The Flybe model is not viable which is why its billionaire owners are looking for a state subsidy for their failed investment."

Earlier this week, Flybe was bailed out the government after reaching the brink of collapse and putting more than than 2,000 jobs at risk.

The government agreed to defer more than £100m of APD payments if the company injected tens of millions of pounds of capital.

However, Downing Street have insisted that the government was fully compliant with state aid rules and that there had been no "state aid" for Flybe.