France impounds Ryanair plane on tarmac before take-off

France sends in bailiffs to seize Ryanair plane on tarmac at Bordeaux airport

The airline owes the regional authority 525,000 euros ($595,000), regional officials said.

The Boeing 737 was close to take-off when a bailiff declared it seized on the tarmac and sealed the aircraft.

Ryanair passengers exhausted of forking out for everything from a baby's seat belt to checking-in could be forgiven a wry smile after one of its planes was seized in Bordeaux in a row over cash.

"It is unfortunate that the state had to take such action, which led to the inevitable inconvenience of the 149 passengers on board", the aviation authority said.

The plane "will remain immobilised until the sum is paid".

It was "regrettable" that the passengers on board the plane had to wait five hours before being able to take off from the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in another Ryanair aircraft, the civil aviation body added.

The airline has now entered negotiations with the department over how to repay more than €500,000 at the centre of the dispute, regional newspaper Charente Libre reports.

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"The airport staff told us there was an issue with the plane", he told The Associated Press in an email.

In reality, Ryanair's plane was seized because of overdue bills.

Last month, European Union anti-trust authorities opened an investigation into whether Ryanair benefited from measures at a German airport that give the Irish low-priced carrier an unfair leg-up over competitors.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks for Ryanair, which has recently faced a series of strikes by pilots and cabin crew across Europe.

Profits fell seven per cent to £1.06 billion (€1.2 billion) in the six months to September 30. Besides charging for seating choice and food - now standard practice on budget flights the world over - it also has travelers pay for any carry-on bag that's larger than a purse.

Ryanair did not respond to requests for comment.

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