Ryanair jet seized by French au­thor­i­ties

Penticton Herald - - WORLD -

PARIS — Storms, strikes, com­puter fail­ures — you can now add “your plane has been seized by the gov­ern­ment” to the list of things that can de­lay your flight.

In France, 149 pas­sen­gers were pre­par­ing to take off for Lon­don late Thurs­day when French au­thor­i­ties or­dered their Ryanair Boe­ing 737 im­pounded.

The bud­get car­rier owed money and it was “re­gret­table that the state was forced” to evac­u­ate the plane, the civil avi­a­tion au­thor­ity said.

The pas­sen­gers had gone through pass­port con­trol and se­cu­rity and were about to walk on the tar­mac to board the plane when air­port au­thor­i­ties told them to turn around, pas­sen­ger Boris He­jblum said.

“The air­port staff told us there was an is­sue with the plane,” he told The As­so­ci­ated Press in an email.

No Ryanair staff mem­bers were avail­able, the 30-year-old French­man said.

The pas­sen­gers were put on an­other flight that fi­nally brought them to Lon­don’s Stansted air­port — five hours late.

The mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar jet, mean­while, was re­leased only Fri­day af­ter Ryanair paid a bill of 525,000 eu­ros ($610,000).

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 did not pub­licly com­ment on the seizure.

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