Passengers stranded as London-bound Ryanair plane is seized by France

Daniel Fowler
November 10, 2018

Ryanair was reportedly paid French subsidies that were later deemed to be illegal.

HuffPost UK has contacted Ryanair for comment.

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.

The European Commission later ruled around £873,000 (€1million) in subsidies paid to Ryanair were illegal and ordered the Irish carrier to repay all the money.

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.

The French civil aviation authority stopped the aircraft setting off at Bordeaux airport on Thursday evening, from which it was due to fly to Stansted.

France's civil aviation authority said the carrier was obliged to pay back money it received as aid related to its activities at the regional airport of Angouleme between 2008 and 2009.

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The flight, which was heading to Pearson Airport, experienced some technical difficulties and had to return to CJIA. We are providing local assistance and will release further information as soon as it is available'.

"By this action, the government reaffirms its intention to guarantee the conditions of fair competition between airlines and between airports".

The airline owes the regional authority 525,000 euros ($595,000), regional officials said.

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

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

The airline uses Boeing 737-800 planes, which cost £78.4 million each when new.

In October, EU 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.

Profits fell seven per cent to £1.06 billion (€1.2 billion) in the six months to September 30.

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