Republic of Ireland news

Ryanair pays French £457,000 to end standoff that forced 149 passengers off impounded plane

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary

RYANAIR has paid €525,000 (£457,000) in subsidies back to French authorities to end a tarmac standoff that forced 149 passengers to disembark from an impounded plane.

The French civil aviation authority said it had seized the plane at Bordeaux-Merignac airport as a "last resort" after France repeatedly tried to get Ryanair to pay back regional funds to the airline in 2008/09.

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 on Thursday. It said the passengers were put on another Ryanair flight five hours later.

Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

Aviation authority spokesman Eric Heraud said the airline had paid back the funds and the plane would be released.

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