The rescue deal could prove a pragmatic fudge, as long as it does underwrites the owners
The least surprising development in the Flybe saga was Willie Walsh throwing a tantrum. The rescue of the struggling regional airline is “a blatant misuse of public funds”, thundered the boss of IAG, owner of British Airways, as he made an official complaint to the European commission.
That’s the same IAG, note, that enjoys a feather-bedded life thanks to its control of 56% of the landing slots at Heathrow, the most capacity-constrained airport in Europe. BA doesn’t get a leg-up via grubby Flybe-style negotiations with ministers but, if the airline industry wasn’t so riddled with politics, and if flag-carriers didn’t enjoy such lobbying power, IAG’s share of landing slots at Heathrow would have been capped at 30% a long time ago.