Ryanair aircraft seized by French Civil Aviation Authorities on tarmac

French civil aviation authorities have announced the seizure of an aircraft belonging to the low-cost Irish airline, Ryanair, in a bid to force the airline to repay subsidies it received from French authorities for for flights from Angoulême regional airport between 2008 and 2009, in-line with an EU commission ruling of 2014.

The Boeing 737
airplane was seized at Bordeaux airport on Thursday, before a scheduled flight to Stansted with 149 passengers.

They described the action as "a last resort" as the airline refused to comply despite repeated warnings.

The DGAC civil aviation body said: "This measure was taken as a last resort by the French authorities after several reminders and attempts to recuperate the money failed."

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

The plane, it said "will remain immobilised until the sum is paid".

"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 body continued.

"Those passengers were able to eventually reach their destination later that evening on another Ryanair plane, but with a five-hour delay."

Ryanair owes regional authority €525,000 ($595,000).

Regional newspaper Charente Libre reported that the aircraft was declared seized on the tarmac by a bailiff, accompanied by police, just as it was set to take-off for London's Stansted airport.  

This is the latest in a setbacks for airline, which has recently been faced with a series of strikes by pilots and cabin crew across Europe.

The company is also in a fight with Italian regulators over an order to suspend its plan to charge passengers for carry-on bags.



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