The Boeing 737 was confiscated Thursday night at Bordeaux Airport shortly before the scheduled departure to London with 149 passengers in it. Passengers finally flew with a five-hour delay on another plane, the British Daily Mail newspaper reported. French authorities apologized for the delay.
This dispute concerns state assistance received by Ryanair between 2008 and 2009 in connection with activities at the regional airport in the French city of Angoulême. The European Commission said this assistance was illegal in 2014 and, according to French authorities, the company must return the money.
"The French authorities have reached this measure as a last resort when several attempts to raise funds failed," said the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).
Airplanes, according to the Authority, "remain stationary" until the company pays the required amount.
The incident was the last of many problems Ryanair faced recently. For example, with Italian authorities, the ban on boarding flights was increased. The company recently lowered its profit forecast to 1.1-1.2 billion euros due to employee strikes this year.