Ryanair plane seized by French authorities in cash row

AFP  File | The French authorities stopped a Ryanair plane from taking off to put pressure on the airline

French authorities said on Friday they seized a Ryanair plane, forcing 149 London-bound passengers off the aircraft, to get the Irish low-priced airline to repay illegal public aid, the latest in a string of troubles for the carrier.

The aid was later deemed illegal by the European Commission.

The aviation authority called it "regrettable that the state was forced" to evacuate the plane on Thursday.

"Those passengers were able to eventually reach their destination later that evening on another Ryanair plane, but with a five-hour delay".

This has been a turbulent autumn for the airline.

A Ryanair plane was seized on the tarmac at a French airport in a row over an unpaid bill, it has emerged.

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The airline owes the regional aviation authority €525,000, the Charente Libre newspaper reported.

In a statement released on Friday, the authorities said the plane would remain grounded until the outstanding sum was paid, adding that the move was a "last resort" after multiple attempts to reclaim the money.

Ryanair's fleet is made up mostly of Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which have a list price of more than $90 million each.

The Local has approached Ryanair for comment.

The EU also ordered authorities to recoup money from Transavia over benefits they had received at two other French regional airports.

The pan-European stoppages prompted the airline to cut its profit forecast, but it still expects to make profits after tax of 1.10-1.20 billion euros in its current financial year.

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