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BA owner IAG files complaint over Flybe deal

BA owner IAG files complaint over Flybe deal

International Airlines Group (IAG) has lodged a complaint with the European Union over the UK government's reported deal with struggling airline Flybe to keep it operating.

The group, which owns British Airways, said that it believes that the government's support of Flybe constitutes illegal state aid under EU law.

Downing Street has denied the claims.

The deal is understood to have included the deferral of over £100m Air Passenger Duty (APD) payments, allowing Flybe the funds it needs to operate through difficult winter months.

The complaint came just hours after IAG's Cheif Executive Willie Walsh wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to describe the deal as a 'blatant misuse of public funds.'

Mr Walsh said;

"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.

"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."

Environmental campaigners have also criticised the deal between the government and Flybe, urging the government to boost rail travel.

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