Ex-Flybe chief: Michael O'Leary spot on, public shouldn't save "frail airlines"

25 April 2020, 09:43 | Updated: 25 April 2020, 09:52

By Seán Hickey

An aviation expert insisted that Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic should not receive a government loan and such bailouts should be only for well run companies.

In the uncertain time of whether or not the government will grant support to Virgin Atlantic Andrew Castle was joined by Luke Farajallah, the former Chief Operating Officer of Flybe to discuss how the aviation industry may be struggling through the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew wanted to know Mr Farajallah's opinion on whether the government should grant Virgin a state loan to make it through the pandemic.

The former Flybe chief pointed out that "there are airlines which are naturally well run" such as Ryanair which won't ever need to seek support of this kind because they have "always been run very efficiently, very ruthlessly" and are "able to withstand the pressure" set on by the lockdown.

"I would take great exception to any airline that runs as many people run their lives, with no real reserves or thought of how to run the future" Mr Farajallah stated.

The Ryanair chief claimed a Virgin Airlines bailout would fleece the British taxpayer
The Ryanair chief claimed a Virgin Airlines bailout would fleece the British taxpayer. Picture: PA

The former operations officer noted that if you give money to companies that are poorly run to begin with, "you're just sustaining frail companies into the future".

Andrew quipped that it sounded as Mr Farajallah was taking the side of Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary who claimed a Virgin bailout would fleece the British taxpayer.

Although not backing up the language of the Irishman, Mr Farajallah believed that "Michael O'Leary is spot on" and his opinion should be taken heavily, as he is a man who has "spent a career running a tremendously strong airline".

Mr Farjallah insisted that "any airline accessing government schemes should only fall into the category of those that are well run" and suggested because of how delicate Virgin Atlantic is, there should be no government loan.