Flybe Deal Keeps Flights Going To Wick For Now
15th January 2020
Flybe's franchise partner Eastern Airways has flights to Wick from Aberdeen and would have been in danger if the company had gone bust.
Flybe has agreed £110m rescue deal. The deal consisted of three parts - a deferment of air passenger duty (APD) and other taxes for Flybe, a government loan and an infusion of cash from the airline's shareholders.
The total value of the deal is worth around £110m, with the tax breaks and government loan accounting for around £80m, with the carrier's investors stumping up the remaining £30m.
Flybe's owners are Connect Airways. Connect Airways leading shareholder is Cyrus Capital, which holds 40 per cent of the company. The remaining shareholders are Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic and transport firm Stobart, each of which ho ld 30 per cent of Connect. This will be the second time the shareholders have dipped into their pockets to save the airline.
Trudy Morris, chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said: "Flights from Wick John O'Groats Airport are very important to businesses in the north Highlands, allowing us to more easily do business with the rest of Scotland and the wider UK, and helping to facilitate inward investment in the region."
The owner of British Airways has filed a complaint with the European Commission over the government bailout of struggling airway Flybe, after its boss branded it a "blatant misuse of public funds"
International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns Aer Lingus, claims the bailout breaches state aid rules and gives the struggling airline an unfair advantage.
The complaint follows a letter written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps by Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG, who asked why the taxpayer was funding the multi-million pound bailout of Flybe, rather than its rich owners.
Mr Walsh is angry because the firm - which was rescued in part by a deferral of an estimated £100m APD tax bill - is owned by, among other shareholders, Virgin Atlantic, which in turn is part-owned by US aviation giant Delta.
"Virgin/Delta now want the taxpayer to pick up the tab for their mismanagement of the airline," Mr Walsh said in his letter.
“This is a blatant misuse of public funds.”
PSO To Protect Wick Flights Could Take Up To A Year To Put In Place. Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, is urging the Scottish Government to look seriously at interim measures to save Wick air routes after being told state aid for services could take up to a year to put in place.
Wick John O'Groats Airport has been hit hard with the news that Loganair is to axe the flights between Wick and Edimburgh Bookings had already dropped in the last year and the Cornavirus has made things worse. The service will cease at the end of March.
The Air Discount Scheme (ADS) which provides cheaper air travel for islands and north Highland residents has been extended. The scheme month has been renewed until 31 December 2020.
Prospect air traffic controllers in the Highlands and Islands to strike on 26th April 2019 over pay. Prospect air traffic controllers working for Highlands and Islands Airport Limited will be taking strike action on the 26th of April in relation to their 2018-19 pay offer.
Prospect has confirmed arrangements for balloting air traffic controllers at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited on industrial action. The ballot will open on 11 February and close on 1 March.
Regional airport operator HIAL has handled more passengers than ever, according to latest figures for the last financial year. The airport group, which operates 11 airports across Scotland, handled 1,437,625 passengers in 2015/16, up by more than 6000 on the previous year.
Airport operator HIAL's strong run of growth in 2015 continued in the last quarter according to latest figures. In the third quarter (July to September), the group recorded an extra 12,522 passengers (up 3.1%) compared to the same period in 2014.
Island airports soar but overall numbers dip slightly at HIAL. Passenger numbers at HIAL's regional airport fell slightly in the third quarter of the year, though a number of island airports reported soaring growth.
Passenger numbers at regional airport operator HIAL climbed to their highest ever level in the latest financial year, as the group stepped up its investment for the future. The company's annual report and accounts for the year 2013/14 show that almost 70,000 extra passengers used the group's 11 airports during the year.
Passenger numbers at HIAL's regional airports grew by almost 8000 during the last quarter, with the group's island airports driving growth. Latest figures for the last quarter (April - June) show that passenger numbers at HIAL’s 11 airports grew by 7806, an increase of 2.2% on the same quarter last year.