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Flybe rescue plan will enable flights to continue out of Inverness

By Ian Duncan

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TROUBLED airline Flybe, which operates flights out of Inverness Airport, has welcomed a rescue plan which was agreed by the UK government this week.

Ministers have agreed to work with the company to figure out a repayment plan to cover a significant tax debt which is understood to be in excess of £100 million.

Europe’s biggest regional airline was thought to be on the brink of collapse before news of the latest deal broke on Tuesday evening.

Passengers arrive at Inverness Airport on a a Flybe jet.
Passengers arrive at Inverness Airport on a a Flybe jet.

Flybe welcomed the support from the government and described the move as a “positive outcome”.

A statement said that Flybe remained committed to providing air connectivity for the UK regions with the full support of its shareholders.

Mark Anderson, Flybe’s CEO, said: “Flybe is made up of an incredible team of people, serving millions of loyal customers who rely on the vital regional connectivity that we provide. This is a positive outcome for the UK and will allow us to focus on delivering for our customers and planning for the future.”

Flybe previously put itself up for sale in late 2018, after it warned it was running out of cash and was subsequently bought for £2.9 million by current owners Virgin, Stobart and Cyrus.

It operates flights between Inverness and Birmingham, Belfast and Jersey, and throughout the crisis the company insisted it was operating as normal.

Following the rescue plan’s announcement rival operators claimed the bailout contravened state aid rules and complained to the European commission which has warned any state aid should not distort competition.

Johan Lundgren, the CEO of easyJet, said: “What is clear is that taxpayers should not be used to bail out individual companies, especially when they are backed by well-funded businesses.”

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