France Frees Ryanair Jet After Tarmac Standoff Over Subsidy

PARIS (AP) — Ryanair paid $610,000 in subsidies back to French authorities on Friday in order to end a tarmac standoff that forced 149 passengers to disembark from an impounded plane.

A Ryanair jet plane parks at the airport in Weeze, Germany, on Sept. 12, 2018. French authorities seized a Ryanair plane on Nov. 9, 2018, and forced 149 passengers to disembark because of a dispute over subsidies to the Irish airline. The French civil aviation authority announced it had impounded the plane on the tarmac of the Bordeaux-Merignac airport as a “last resort.” (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file)

The French civil aviation authority said it had seized the plane at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport as a “last resort,” after France had repeatedly tried to get Ryanair to pay back regional funds to the airline in 2008-2009.

The European Commission later ruled those funds illegal, saying they gave Ryanair an unfair economic advantage.

The aviation authority called it “regrettable that the state was forced” to evacuate the plane Thursday. It said the passengers were put on another Ryanair flight five hours later.

Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

But aviation authority spokesman Eric Heraud said Ryanair had paid back the funds and the plane would be released.

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