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Flybe moves to set record straight on tax deferral claims

Joanna Bourke

Troubled airline Flybe has moved to defend itself amid claims it received a huge tax holiday, and said a deal with the Government is not a bail-out.

The loss-making regional carrier which had been at risk of collapsing, said it is setting “inaccurate” reporting straight.

Westminster was understood to have deferred the airline’s outstanding £106 million air passenger duty bill until the spring. But Flybe said in a statement: “A payment plan was agreed with HMRC for a debt of less than £10 million.”

Flybe added: “This agreement will only last a matter of months before all taxes and duties are paid in full.” It did not specify whether air passenger duty is the tax it has secured the delayed payment on.

As part of the Government agreement, the Treasury will review taxes on UK flights. A number of airlines have criticised the assistance.

In a videolink seen by the BBC, Flybe boss Mark Anderson told staff: “We are in conversation with the Government around a financial loan — a loan, not a bail-out — a commercial loan, but that is the same as any loan we’d take from any bank.”

Flybe was taken over by a consortium comprising Stobart Group, Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital Partners last year.

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