The proposed rescue of Flybe last night has provoked a rapid response from Willie Walsh, and he may have a case. But why was Flybe saved, but Thomas Cook wasn’t?
Some would suggest the reason is so MPs can get home at the weekend. That’s not quite true. Scheduled airline services have a significant economic impact on the communities they serve. They facilitate business travel, trade and tourism on a much larger scale than Cook for instance. Essentially, Cook was a leisure airline carrying UK holidaymakers to two weeks of sun, sea and sand.
Flybe,on the other hand, carries business travellers to trade events in regional cities in wet Januarys – not quite the same.
The UK government therefore probably felt compelled to act on this occasion, given its election promises. Although three ministers being quoted in one press release looks like an ego-fest, rather than a statement of intent.
Where next now becomes the question and with pandora’s box open, the fun begins.