France seizes Ryanair plane over unpaid state aid

Galtero Lara
Noviembre 9, 2018

The 149 passengers due to get on the plane for a flight to London Stansted endured a five-hour delay before another Ryanair craft arrived to take them to their destination.

The French civil aviation authority said it was "regrettable that the state was forced" to seize the plane, but that it took the measure because the low-priced airline had repeatedly ignored demands to repay subsidies a regional government handed to Ryanair. "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports".

The airline has now entered negotiations with the department over how to repay more than €500,000 at the centre of the dispute, regional newspaper Charente Libre reports.

"It is unfortunate that the state had to take such action, which led to the inevitable inconvenience of the 149 passengers on board the immobilised plane", the French civil aviation authority said. Charente officials claim that Ryanair owes them the equivalent of just over £450,000, having paid back half of the subsidies.

In 2014, the European Commission said Ryanair had to pay back €858,000 ($973,000) worth of rebates and marketing arrangements it received at Angouleme airport.

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The move on the plane, a Boeing 737, on Thursday at Bordeaux's Merignac airport in southwestern France came after Ryanair failed to respond to a final warning delivered in May, prompting the order to seize the aircraft, DGAC told AFP.

A Ryanair plane was seized on the tarmac at a French airport in a row over an unpaid bill, it has emerged.

Last month, European Union anti-trust authorities opened an investigation into whether Ryanair benefited from measures at a German airport that give the Irish low-priced carrier an unfair leg-up over competitors.

The Local has approached Ryanair for comment.

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