Yesterday (8 November) at 18:00 (UTC +1), a bailiff commissioned by the county council came to Bordeaux Airport and seized a Ryanair Boeing 737 (EI-EBG) on the tarmac over unpaid debts. In 2008/2009, Ryanair received subsidies from the department of Charente to provide flights from Angoulême – Cognac Airport to London. In 2014, the European Commission (EC) concluded that Ryanair received state aid which was incompatible with EU rules: “The low-cost airline paid less than the additional costs linked to their presence at the airport of Angoulême.“
“The airline therefore benefitted from an undue economic advantage, distorting competition in the Single Market. France must now recover the incompatible aid from the companies that received it in order to restore the level playing field,” the EC wrote in a statement back in 2015.
The French Aviation Authorities (DGAC) said that – as a last resort – and after several attempts to recover the illegal state aid from Ryanair they were forced to impound the aircraft until the payment has been settled. Apparently the airline didn’t expect the seizure as the aircraft was about to leave for London. “We regret that France has to take such measures, which caused much inconvenience to the 149 passengers on board today’s impounded aircraft. The passengers could leave Bordeaux Airport on another Ryanair flight, five hours later,” DGAC wrote.
With a wink, the DGAC explained that the delayed Ryanair passengers are entitled to a compensation of €300 according to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.
Several sources have announced that Ryanair will pay back €525,000 this afternoon in order to release the aircraft.
il est regrettable que l’État ait été contraint de procéder à cette mesure, qui a entraîné d’inévitables désagréments pour les 149 passagers de l’avion immobilisé.
— dgac🇫🇷 (@DGAC) November 9, 2018
French police has seized @Ryanair’s plane at Bordeaux airport, allegedly because @Ryanair received heavy subsidies from France to start deserving Angoulême airport, but did not come through. @Ryanair refuses to give the money back #ryanairrendslargent #ryanairgivethemoneyback
— Boris Hejblum (@borishej) November 8, 2018