Bailiffs seize plane over Ryanair debt

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

A RYANAIR plane was im­pounded by French bailiffs mo­ments be­fore it was due to take off for Lon­don fol­low­ing a row over un­paid debts.

The Boe­ing 737 was taxi­ing to the run­way at Bordeaux air­port, south-west France, on Thurs­day evening when it was or­dered to stop by air traf­fic con­trollers. Some 149 pas­sen­gers, many of them British, waited on the tar­mac for five hours while bailiffs de­manded 525,000 eu­ros (£457,595) from the air­line. They fi­nally ar­rived at Stansted Air­port on an­other Ryanair jet around 11.30pm.

The plane was seized af­ter of­fi­cials won a court or­der pre­vent­ing it from mov­ing in a dis­pute over sub­si­dies paid to the air­line to pro­vide flights be­tween An­gouleme and Lon­don in 2008 and 2009.

The Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion has since claimed the sub­si­dies were il­le­gal and or­dered Ryanair to re­pay the money. Around £450,000 re­mained out­stand­ing when the plane was seized but a French avi­a­tion au­thor­ity spokesman later con­firmed the air­line had paid back the funds and the plane would be re­leased.

It is the lat­est row be­tween Ryanair and EU of­fi­cials. Last week, five Eu­ro­pean gov­ern­ments warned it could face le­gal ac­tion if it ig­nores na­tional labour laws. It is also fight­ing an or­der by Ital­ian reg­u­la­tors to sus­pend a carry-on bag charge.

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