The chief of airline group IAG has complained to European regulators about the British government’s deal to save Flybe, accusing the rescue of being a “blatant misuse of public funds”.
The UK’s government stepped in this week to provide a support plan to save Flybe from entering into administration, after it ran out of money.
Flybe’s parent group, Connect Airways, also agreed to pump emergency cash into the struggling airline so it could continue operating.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed Mr Walsh’s claims and said the deal was important to retaining transport links in the UK.
Mr Walsh, who will be stepping down from his role at IAG later this year, requested the European Union to assess whether the support given to Flybe breached EU state aid rules.
He argued that Connect Airways, which includes Virgin Atlantic within its group, should have been able to fork out enough on its own to save Flybe.
IAG owns British Airways and regards Virgin Atlantic as a key rival.