Bailiff seizes Ryanair plane in legal row

Airline agrees to pay money owed to department of Charente after official takes control of aircraft on tarmac at Bordeaux

A bailiff seized a Ryanair aeroplane at Bordeaux airport, as part of a legal dispute between the airline and the conseil départemental of the Charente.

The 149 passengers due to get on the plane for a flight to London Stansted endured a five-hour delay before another Ryanair craft arrived to take them to their destination.

The airline has now entered negotiations with the department over how to repay more than €500,000 at the centre of the dispute, regional newspaper Charente Libre reports.

The aircraft was grounded at 6pm on Thursday, November 8, when the bailiff, with a mandate from the conseil départemental presented himself at Bordeaux and took legal control of the aircraft - which had been scheduled to fly to London Stansted - on the tarmac. The plane was sealed

The department had the support of France's civil aviation authority, the direction générale de l'aviation civile (DGAC), which said in the press release: "It is regrettable that the State was forced to take this measure, which caused unavoidable inconvenience for the 149 passengers of the immobilised aircraft.

"They were able to be re-routed to their destination the same evening by another flight from Ryanair with a five-hour delay. By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports."

Ryanair owed €525,000 to the department that it had received in aid when the company operated an Angoulême-London route. The European Commission ruled in 2014 that aid was illegal and ordered the airline to reimburse the department.

An appeal against the judgement was rejected by the tribunal administratif in the summer.

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