Stobart Group has announced it will pump up to £9 million into troubled airline Flybe.

The group, which also owns Carlisle airport, has a 30 per cent stake in the consortium, called Connect Airways, which owns Flybe.

The airline was on the brink of collapse earlier this week but it was averted after shareholders agreed to inject cash into the firm and the Government told the company it would review airline passenger duty.

It has also announced a further review into regional connectivity.

The Government's involvement has been criticised by British Airways owner IAG, which filed a complaint with the European Commission that the deal Downing Street has since insisted there has been no state aid to Flybe and any support that is given to the firm would be on strictly commercial terms.

There have been criticisms elsewhere that if the firm was not commercially viable, the Government should not prop it up.

But Stobart Group said a delay in the merger and "legacy issues" impacted on the company's turnaround.

Stobart Group, Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital joined forces to create Connect Airways and bought Flybe in February for £2.2 million.

At the time, Flybe was struggling to survive.

To date, the consortium has provided £110m to Connect Airways. Stobart Group has invested £45m through a combination of cash and the sale of Stobart Air, Stobart Group's regional airline, and its aircraft leasing business, Propius.

In a statement, Stobart Group said: "The Connect Airways consortium has worked tirelessly alongside Flybe and the UK Government to look for solutions to ensure the financial viability of the airline so that consumers can continue to have confidence in flying with Flybe."

Initial findings of the Government's review into air passenger duty are due to be provided around the time of the March Budget.

Stobart Group added: "The Connect Airways consortium has committed to providing Flybe further short-term funding with Stobart Group contributing up to £9m of capital, with the funds drawn down only if required."

It said it invested in Connect Airways – and by extension Flybe – because it provided the opportunity to establish a comprehensive regional network in the UK and Ireland, while enabling Stobart Group to concentrate on its strategic focus for developing airport and aviation services assets.

This included London Southend Airport, which it owns, as in November, Flybe announced its intention to offer flights to 10 destinations from there from this summer.

Those destinations are expected to attract around 500,000 passengers annually to London Southend Airport.

But, Stobart Group added: "Though the consortium announced its intention to acquire the assets of Flybe in January, it did not receive merger control clearance from the European Commission for its acquisition of Flybe until July 5.

"The delay in receiving control, coupled with a number of other factors including legacy issues, impacted on the delivery of the consortium's turnaround plan for Flybe.

"This resulted in a situation in which a further injection of funds is required to ensure continued flying."

Connect Airways was chosen to take over the firm by shareholders, despite attempts by high-profile Cumbrian businessman Andrew Tinkler to take control, first in a solo bid and then heading up a group of investors.

But shareholders said Connect Airways was the only viable option.