Ryanair made fork out €525k to re­trieve seized plane

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By James Ward Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

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.’

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