Ryanair jet seized by French authorities just before takeoff

Ryanair

The European Commission has since claimed the subsidies were illegal, and ordered Ryanair to pay them all back.

Following the commission's 2014 ruling that the payments gave Ryanair an unfair advantage, around half the subsidies were repaid.

"It is unfortunate that the state had to take such action, which led to the inevitable inconvenience of the 149 passengers onboard the immobilised plane", the French civil aviation authority said.

Just under 24 hours later, the no-frills airline relented and paid up, authorities said Friday, allowing it to reclaim its aircraft.

A Ryanair plane was grounded and seized on Thursday in what French authorities are calling "a last resort" effort in an ongoing money dispute with the budget airline over government subsidies, according to the BBC.

The Boeing 737 was close to take-off when a bailiff declared it seized on the tarmac and sealed the aircraft.

The French civil aviation authority said it was "regrettable that the state was forced" to seize the plane, but that it took the measure because the low-priced airline had repeatedly ignored demands to repay subsidies a regional government handed to Ryanair.

The passengers were put on another flight that finally brought them to London's Stansted airport - five hours late.

French airport official Didier Villat told Sud Ouest newspaper: "To my knowledge it's the first time a Ryanair plane has been seized in this way".

And last week ministers from five European governments warned Ryanair that it could face legal trouble if it ignores national labour laws after a series of strikes across the continent.

Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

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

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