Joining a growing chorus of UK airlines, Ryanair published a strongly worded letter from CEO Michael O’Leary complaining about the inequity of the “APD eco-tax holiday” afforded to struggling regional carrier Flybe.
Ryanair announced on Thursday that they are calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid MP, to extend the APD eco-tax ‘holiday’ given to Flybe to all UK airlines including Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways. The airline business is notoriously difficult, even for “best-in-breed” operators like Ryanair, so it isn’t surprising that today, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary called on the government to extend the special treatment given to Flybe to all UK airlines. Afterall, in a free market economy, business is all about survival of the fittest. In today’s announcement, Mr. O’Leary said,
“This government bailout of the billionaire owned Flybe is in breach of both Competition and State Aid laws. The Flybe model is not viable which is why its billionaire owners are looking for a state subsidy for their failed investment.” Mr. O’Leary continued,
“The reason why Flybe isn’t viable is because it cannot compete with lower fare services from UK regional airports on domestic and EU routes provided by Ryanair, EasyJet, BA and others; and it cannot compete with lower cost road and rail alternatives on many smaller UK domestic routes. If Flybe fails (as it undoubtedly will once this Government subsidy ends) then Ryanair, easyJet, BA and others will step in and provide lower fare flights from UK regional airports, as we already have, to make up for the recent failure of Thomas Cook Airways. This Flybe ‘subsidy’ cannot comply with Competition, or State Aid rules unless the same APD eco tax holiday and other Government subsidies are extended to all other UK competitor airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet, BA among others.”
Published below is a copy of the letter from Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary to the Right Honorable Sajid Javid MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.