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Gendarmes raid Ryanair base

Budget airline complains to EU Commission over new police illegal working enquiry

GENDARMES have raided Ryanair’s summer crew base in Marseille as part of a new fraud and illegal working investigation.

The raid comes just weeks before a Bouches-du-Rhône court is due to hear the budget airline’s appeal against a €9million fine imposed last October for employing crew illegally on Irish work contracts between 2007 and 2010, when they were based in France.

Ryanair said in a statement today it had “filed formal complaints to the EU Commission, the Irish Departments of Foreign Affairs and Transport and the French Embassy (Dublin)” after gendarmes refused crews access to the temporary reporting area which had been set up for its summer operations.

It says the gendarmes also refused to allow crew members access to “weather information, passenger updates and flight information”.

The company said it had now managed to pass on this information through laptops and the flight operations were “continuing today without disruption”. Flights today were taking off on time.

Company spokesman Robin Kiely said: “It is unacceptable that a European-registered airline complying fully with European airline and employment legislation is being unfairly and unlawfully interfered with by local magistrates and Gendarmerie in Marseille.

“This unwarranted and unlawful interference, in a temporary summer operation at Marseille, is in breach of the free movement of services and labour which are guaranteed under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”

He added: “Air France and the French government would not accept this treatment of its facilities at London Heathrow or other European airports where Air France overnights aircraft and crews, who continue to pay their taxes in France because they are employed on French contracts and are flying on French-registered aircraft.”

Marseille prosecutor Dominique Moyal told reporters that a new enquiry had been launched several months ago into offences similar to those that had resulted in the 2013 conviction and fine. It had been prompted by a complaint by the pilots’ union Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne.

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