Bound Ryanair Plane Full Of Passengers Seized By French Authorities

Bound Ryanair Plane Full Of Passengers Seized By French Authorities

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

The scene unfolded at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in western France, where authorities say the airline was ordered to pay back funds that the European Union had declared to be illegal subsidies.

Ryanair had been ordered to repay €1 million of subsidies, but the French government said it had only paid back half the money.

A bailiff seized a Ryanair aeroplane at Bordeaux airport, as part of a legal dispute between the airline and the conseil départemental of the Charente.

DGAC said 149 passengers were put on another flight on Thursday evening and arrived at their destination five hours late.

The standoff with French authorities will not help Ryanair, which more than most carriers, has come to symbolize budget airlines' relentless focus on the bottom line at the cost of customer service.

Authorities said the seizure of the plane was a final bid to recover the money after trying and failing other avenues. "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports".

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

Regional newspaper Charente Libre reported that the airline owes the regional authority 525,000 euros ($595,000), the paper said on its website.

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.

The stoppages contributed to a 7% fall in profits to €1.2bn (£1.06bn) for the six months to 30 September.

Ryanair is also fighting an order by Italian regulators to suspend a charge for carry-on bags.

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