Molly has written to EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, to ask if the rescue package the government has planned for FlyBe breaches EU state aid rules. The letter comes as International Airlines Group (IAG), whose airlines British Airways and Aer Lingus compete with Flybe, also file a complaint against the rescue package. Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, described it as it a “blatant misuse of public funds.”
As well as the potential breach of state aid rules, Molly Scott Cato is keen to focus attention on the implications of the rescue package on efforts to tackle climate change. She said:
“EU competition policy is designed to prevent support for one company that places other companies at a competitive disadvantage. The rescue package of support to FlyBe would appear to be a case in point.
“The British government also appears to be using the FlyBe case opportunistically to reduce Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights. This is both dangerous and irresponsible at a time when we are increasingly witnessing the destructiveness of climate change.
“The necessary green transition will mean energy-intensive companies will become uncompetitive and cease trading. Any government intervention should therefore be used to support, not impede, this transition.
“As a carrier that serves primarily the domestic market, FlyBe has no future in the transport revolution needed to address the climate emergency.”