France seizes Ryanair plane over unpaid state aid

10 November, 2018, 04:54 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • France sends in bailiffs to seize Ryanair plane on tarmac at Bordeaux airport

Ryanair did not respond to Fortune's request for comment.

Passengers aboard a plane headed to London this week were ordered to evacuate by French authorities after it was revealed that the carrier owed a substantial amount of money from 2014.

The European Comission later ruled the deal had been illegal and ordered Ryanair to pay back the cash.

The Boeing 737 was close to take-off when a bailiff declared it seized on the tarmac and sealed the aircraft.

The French civil aviation authority said Friday it had seized a Ryanair plane to get the Irish low-priced airline to repay illegal public aid, the latest in a string of troubles for the carrier.

The Ryanair Boeing 737 was impounded and all 149 passengers were told to turn around and head back to the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in western France.

It said the move was "a last resort".


The passengers were put on another flight that finally brought them to London's Stansted airport - five hours late. "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports".

In reality, Ryanair's plane was seized because of overdue bills.

The French civil aviation authority did not say how much money was involved, but regional airport officials said the sum was €525,000 (£457,000).

"Just because we manage a little airport in Charente it doesn't mean we are not going to defend ourselves", he added.

The pan-European stoppages prompted the airline to cut its profit forecast, but it still expects to make profits after tax of 1.10-1.20 billion euros in its current financial year.

Six cabin crew were sacked for gross misconduct after allegedly staging a photo showing them asleep on the airport floor in Malaga, Spain.

But despite flight cancellations, Ryanair reported an 11% rise in traffic in October, as it carried 13.1 million passengers.

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