Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has said it intended to open bases in France after the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) ruled that the French authorities should not ask the low-cost carrier to pay local social contributions for staff employed under Irish law.

Despite the ruling, the airline said that it would now employ staff at its prospective French bases under the local rules.

"We are already in discussions with a number of French airports, and the French Ministry of Labour, which we hope will lead to Ryanair announcing some bases in France in the near future, but with pilots and cabin crew based in France, on local French contracts, and paying their social taxes in France rather than Ireland," Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson said.

Ryanair has been involved in a protracted legal dispute in France since the early 2010s, after the local authorities demanded that all staff - including workers employed under Irish contracts - pay their social contributions in France. The French labour law is much more stringent than the Irish one, leading to higher labour costs for employers.

Due to the dispute, the Irish LCC closed its last French base, in Marseilles, in early 2011. Since then it has only served France from foreign bases. This has caused significant underrepresentation of French airports in the carrier's European network. According to the ch-aviation capacity module, Ryanair currently serves thirty airports in France, although it maintains a sizeable presence of over 100 weekly departures only at Paris Beauvais and Marseilles.

The Supreme Court ruling follows an earlier verdict issued by the European Court of Justice, which said that France should recognise Irish E101 certificates as proofs of social security contribution payments.

Ryanair said it would also seek to recover EUR13 million euros (USD15.2 million) which it put into an escrow account for the ongoing litigation in France.

Separately, a court in Tenerife ruled that the carrier's employees in Spain should be subject to a review by Spanish courts, even if they are employed under Irish contracts. Ryanair said it would appeal the judgement.