Willie Walsh Speaks Out Against Subsidies

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG has criticised continued government subsidies for struggling airlines. Speaking at The Future of Air Transport conference in London, Walsh said: "You don't need state-run airlines to provide air links." He argued that if the demand for air travel is there, independent airlines will cover it. "If the government stopped helping Air India, India wouldn't be without air transport," he argued. Indeed, he believes it would be more efficient. But Walsh was less negative about Middle Eastern airlines, which have also taken large government pay-outs. He argued that while both Indian and Middle Eastern airlines had both taken support, only the latter had capitalised on it. Air India, for example, has existed far longer than Qatar Airways. It has taken subsidies and bailouts for longer, but has never been able to use these funds to stabilise and become independent, he argued. "Air India will always need a bailout".

 

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