Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) had to pay EUR525,000 euros (USD590,000) to the French authorities to release a B737-800 impounded just ahead of a planned departure to London Stansted from Bordeaux on November 9, the Financial Times has reported.

Flight FR1783, then operated by a replacement aircraft on that day, eventually left Bordeaux more than five hours late. There were 149 passengers on board.

The French authorities explained that they had turned to such a measure as a last resort enforcement in a dispute over illegal state aid that the Irish LCC had received at Angoulême.

The European Commission ruled that subsidies granted to Ryanair in Angoulême were illegal in a ruling issued in 2014. An investigation revealed that rebates and marketing agreements with the LCC provided it with an unfair economic advantage. The Commission ordered the French authorities to recover EUR868,000 euros from Ryanair at that time.

The same ruling established that Ryanair also received illegal state aid at Nîmes and Pau in France.

Ryanair has appealed the order to repay state aid at the European Court of Justice. The case is ongoing.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, Ryanair currently operates just 26 weekly departures out of Bordeaux. However, following the change in labour contracts, the Irish LCC is due to open a base at the French airport in March 2019, launching 16 new routes.