Bailiffs seize plane over Ryanair debt
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.