Ryanair made fork out €525k to retrieve seized plane
RYANAIR has been forced to pay €525,000 to retrieve a jet that had been impounded by French aviation authorities in a row over subsidies.
On Thursday, 149 passengers had to disembark the Boeing 747 when it was seized on the tarmac at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport, moments before it was scheduled to fly to London Stansted.
The French civil aviation authority – the DGAC – said it seized the plane as a ‘last resort’ after a number of failed attempts to retrieve aid it had given to Ryanair in 2009 to subsidise a new route the airline never put into operation. The European Commission ruled those funds illegal, saying they gave Ryanair an unfair economic advantage.
Ryanair declined to comment yesterday, but the aviation authority said the airline had paid back the funds and the jet would be released. The DGAC said it was ‘regrettable’ the plane had to be evacuated, and that passengers were put on another Ryanair flight five hours later.
Charente airport union leader Didier Villat said Ryanair ‘owed us €525,585.05 and they paid €524,907.80, which is the sum fixed on September 15’. He explained that the amount did not take account of accrued interest since that date. He added: ‘The sum was negligible for Ryanair, a very wealthy company... I’m happy because I’m the little guy who got his rights respected.’