Ryanair plane seized by French authorities in cash row

Ryanair plane seized by French authorities in cash row

It was "regrettable" that passengers on board the plane had to wait five hours before being able to take off on another Ryanair aircraft, the civil aviation body added.

Almost 150 passengers were stranded after the London-bound flight was commandeered at Bordeaux Airport on Thursday.

According to reports, Ryanair was meant to remunerate French authorities €525,000 Euro following a ruling from the European Commission which stated that the airline must repay subsidies it received in error from the regional authority over ten years ago.

Passengers from the Thursday flight were put on another plane, which eventually took them to their destination at London's Stansted airport - five hours late.

The authority did not specify the amount owed by Ryanair, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ryanair had been ordered for some time to pay back funds that the European Union had declared to be illegal subsidies.

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In October, EU anti-trust authorities opened an investigation into whether Ryanair benefited from measures at a German airport that give the Irish low-priced carrier an unfair leg-up over competitors.

"This measure was taken as a last resort by the French authorities after several reminders and attempts to recuperate the money failed". "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports". One passenger told The Associated Press that airport authorities told them there "was an issue with the plane".

The French civil aviation authority said it was over a dispute about illegal subsidies paid to the Irish airline in 2008-2009.

Despite these problem the airline saw a 11 per cent rise in traffic in October with 13.1 million passengers flying across Europe.

Profits fell seven per cent to £1.06 billion (€1.2 billion) in the six months to September 30.

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