France impounds Ryanair plane on tarmac before take-off

PARIS (AP) — French authorities have seized a Ryanair plane and forced 149 passengers to disembark because of a dispute over subsidies to the Irish airline.

The French civil aviation authority announced Friday it had impounded the plane on the tarmac of the Bordeaux-Merignac airport as a “last resort.”

Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

In a statement, the aviation authority said France had repeatedly tried to get Ryanair to pay back regional funds paid to the airline in 2008-2009. The European Commission later ruled those funds illegal, saying they gave Ryanair an unfair economic advantage.

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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.

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