France seizes Ryanair plane over unpaid state aid

Mae Love
November 9, 2018

Ryanair has been forced to pay the French government €525,000 (£450,000) to release one of its planes after it was impounded at Bordeaux airport in a decade-long legal battle over illegal subsidies.

The French civil aviation authority seized the aircraft on Thursday at Bordeaux airport ahead of its planned flight to London Stansted, the latest episode in a string of troubles for the low-priced Irish carrier.

France's Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) said the passengers were delayed five hours but made it to their destination with a later Ryanair flight.

The European Commission later ruled those funds illegal, saying they gave Ryanair an unfair economic advantage.

It was not immediately clear how much money French authorities were trying to reclaim from Ryanair.

DGAC said it the plane "will remain immobilized until the sum is paid".

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"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.

French airport official Didier Villat told Sud Ouest newspaper: 'To my knowledge it's the first time a Ryanair plane has been seized in this way.

The French civil aviation authority said it was over a dispute about illegal subsidies paid to the Irish airline in 2008-2009.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks for Ryanair, which has recently faced a series of strikes by pilots and cabin crew across Europe.

Ryanair did not respond to requests for comment.

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