Ryanair pays €525,000 to end stand­off at Bordeaux in sub­sidy row

Irish Independent - - Business - Pa­trick Ed­wards

RYANAIR has paid €525,000 in sub­si­dies back to French au­thor­i­ties to end a tar­mac stand­off that forced 149 pas­sen­gers to dis­em­bark from an im­pounded plane.

The French civil avi­a­tion au­thor­ity said it had seized the plane at Bordeaux-Merignac air­port as a “last re­sort”, af­ter France re­peat­edly tried to get Ryanair to pay back re­gional funds given to the air­line in 2008 and 2009.

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

The avi­a­tion au­thor­ity called it “re­gret­table that the state was forced” to evac­u­ate the plane yes­ter­day. It said the pas­sen­gers were put on an­other Ryanair flight five hours later.

Ryanair did not re­spond to queries re­gard­ing the in­ci­dent.

Avi­a­tion au­thor­ity spokesman Eric Her­aud said the air­line had paid back the funds and the plane would be re­leased.

Last month, the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion said it had opened an in-depth probe to de­ter­mine if mea­sures that favoured Ryanair at Frank­furt-Hahn air­port in Ger­many are aligned with state-aid rules.

“We will in­ves­ti­gate whether re­gional and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Ger­many, against the rules, gave an un­fair ad­van­tage to Ryanair over its com­peti­tors,” EU com­pe­ti­tion com­mis­sioner Mar­grethe Vestager said. Un­der the deal, Ryanair re­ceived be­tween 2009 and 2017 train­ing aid and fund­ing for a crew and pi­lot school and for a main­te­nance hall at the air­port, the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion said.

Ryanair said it be­lieves the Frank­furt-Hahn agree­ment fully com­plied with EU state aid rules.

Ryanair clashed with the EC

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