Government working very hard on Flybe rescue – PM
The Government is “working very hard to do what we can” to save airline Flybe, Boris Johnson has said.
But the Prime Minister warned there are “limits” to what a government is allowed to do to help individual companies.
Chancellor Sajid Javid will hold talks with the business and transport secretaries to discuss if the loss-making regional carrier can defer paying this year’s estimated air passenger duty (APD) bill of £106 million for three years or whether the tax should be cut for all domestic flights, according to multiple reports.
Airlines claim APD restricts connectivity and passenger growth.
Passengers on domestic flights pay £26 in APD for a return trip, with higher rates for longer flights and premium cabins.
The tax is expected to be worth £3.7 billion to the Treasury in 2019/20.
Asked if he intends to save Flybe, Mr Johnson told the BBC: “It’s not for Government to step in and save companies that simply run into trouble.
“But be in no doubt that we see the importance of Flybe in delivering connectivity across the whole United Kingdom.
“It’s very important, for instance, where I was yesterday in Northern Ireland, and we’re working very hard.
“I can’t go into commercially confidential discussions.
“We’re working very hard to do what we can, but obviously people will understand that there are limits, commercially, to what a government can do to rescue any particular firm.
“But what we will do is ensure that we have the regional connectivity that this country needs.”