Ryanair Plane Impounded, Then Released Over Unpaid Debt
The French civil aviation authority released an impounded Ryanair plane Friday morning, just hours after dramatically seizing the aircraft at Bordeaux Airport Thursday evening over unpaid funds.
Ryanair has repeatedly failed to pay back French subsidies dating as far back as 2008. In 2014, the European Commission ruled that the funds gave the Irish airline "an unfair advantage," and commanded Ryanair to pay back $973,000 worth of rebates and marketing arrangements from Angouleme Airport (ANG). Ryanair still owed more than $600,000 Thursday evening, leading French authorities to impound the plane "as a regrettable last resort," saying that the plane would "remain immobilized until the sum is paid."
The plane, which was bearing 149 passengers, was about to depart for London when French officials impounded it on the tarmac. Passengers were forced to disembark, and spent five hours waiting for another Ryanair flight, which eventually got them to their destination, according to the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC).
The Irish airline paid its debt of around $545,000 in subsidies early Friday in order to reclaim the aircraft, according to aviation authority spokesman Eric Heraud.
This is just the latest incident for the beleaguered airline, which has ruffled many feathers in recent years over constant bad faith with customers and authorities alike. This year alone, Ryanair has made headlines for issues with labor, delays, strikes, ridiculous fees, unprofessionalism and rowdy passengers.