France Seizes a Ryanair Plane off the Runway as the Airline and Government Fight Over Illegal Subsidies
A Ryanair plane was grounded and seized on Thursday in what French authorities are calling “a last resort” effort in an ongoing money dispute with the budget airline over government subsidies, according to the BBC.
The plane, a Boeing 737, had 149 passengers on board and was due to fly to England when the French Civil Aviation Authority seized the aircraft and said that it “will remain immobilised until the sum is paid,” the news source reported.
Ryanair was reportedly paid French subsidies that were later deemed to be illegal. French authorities wouldn’t comment on the amount owed, but regional airport officials told the BBC the amount was just under $560,000.
Ryanair did not respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.
Thursday’s incident tops a recent list of problems for Ryanair, including flight cancellations because of problems within the company.
Earlier this year, the budget airline had to cancel flights during the height of summer vacation after the airline’s pilots held a series of strikes demanding better pay and a better system for transfers and promotions.
It wasn’t the first time the Dublin-based airline had internal problems crop to the surface. In 2017, thousands of Ryanair flights were canceled after a backlog of staff leave left them without anyone to fly their planes and reduced its amount of flights for 2018. The ordeal led Airhelp, an industry adviser, to rank them among the worst airlines of the year.
Earlier this week, Ryanair fired a six-person crew after a photo of them sleeping on an office floor sparked criticism for the airline. Ryanair says the photo was staged while the Portuguese cabin crew union defended the crew.