A Ryanair plane full of passengers was seized by French authorities as it was about to leave for London over a long-running cash dispute.
The French civil aviation authority stopped the aircraft setting off at Bordeaux airport on Thursday evening, from which it was due to fly to Stansted. There were 149 passengers on board.
The dispute dates back to 2008/09, officials said, when French subsidies were paid to Ryanair to provide flights from Angouleme, the capital of the Charente region, to London. The European Comission later ruled the deal had been illegal and ordered Ryanair to pay back the cash.
In a statement released on Friday, the authorities said the plane would remain grounded until the outstanding sum was paid, adding that the move was a “last resort” after multiple attempts to reclaim the money.
“It is unfortunate that the state had to take such action, which led to the inevitable inconvenience of the 149 passengers on board the immobilised plane,” the statement continued.
“Those passengers were able to eventually reach their destination later that evening on another Ryanair plane, but with a five-hour delay.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Ryanair for comment.