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Ryanair plane grounded by French bailiffs in row over unpaid debts

Mirror logo Mirror 09/11/2018 Peter Allen
a large passenger jet landing on an airport runway: French bailiffs have grounded a Ryanair plane and all its passengers in Bordeaux © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited French bailiffs have grounded a Ryanair plane and all its passengers in Bordeaux

French bailiffs have grounded a Ryanair plane and all its passengers in Bordeaux following a row over unpaid debts.

The Boeing 737 belonging to the Irish budget airline was due to head off to London on Thursday evening, but officials from the Charente department won a court order preventing it from moving.

"It was stopped at Bordeaux Airport, so preventing 149 passengers from travelling," said a local source.

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"They were all due to go to Stansted Airport, but instead were held up for five hours before taking another plane."

The Charente officials claim that Ryanair owes them the equivalent of just over £450,000.

This debt relates to French subsidies paid to Ryanair to provide flights from Angouleme, the capital of the Charente department, to London between 2008 and 2009.

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: The Charente officials claim that Ryanair owes them the equivalent of just over £450,000 © PA The Charente officials claim that Ryanair owes them the equivalent of just over £450,000

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

Around half have since been paid, and the £450,000 figures represents the remainder, said the source.

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.

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"Just because we manage a little airport in Charente it doesn't mean we are not going to defend ourselves."

A spokesman for the DGAC, France’s aviation authority, said: "By this act the French state reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions of fair competition between airlines and its airports. The plane will remain stationary until the debt is paid."

The DGAC official confirmed that passengers who had been due to board the grounded flight were put on another plane that left five hours later.

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