Ignore warning letters at your own risk: eventually patience runs out.
France’s patience indeed ran out last Thursday, as it grew tired of Ryanair’s failure to even acknowledge a bill of 525,000EUR. The Irish budget carrier had received “incentives” to operate out of Bordeaux-Merignac airport on France’s southwest coast. But the European Union later ruled these incentives as illegal subsidies and ordered Ryanair to pay them back. They refused…or at least dragged their feet.
But after four years of attempting to collect, French authorities took more drastic measures. As passengers lined up outside to board the 737 bound for London, police suddenly appeared and ordered the passengers back inside the terminal. The plane was seized and Ryanair was given an ultimatum: pay back the money or we sell your aircraft to raise the funds.
This certainly got Ryanair’s attention and the carrier silently settled its debt and has now regained possession of the aircraft. In the meantime, though, passengers faced an extended delay. Another plane eventually brought them to London…five hours late. In the meantime, each passenger was given a 5EUR voucher for food, which is not even enough for a sandwich.
The sad thing for Ryanair is that there is no question as to who is blameworthy here. We read the headline and know Ryanair was acting up…again. The carrier has developed such a toxic reputation. As if strikes and computer failures were not enough, now passengers may have to fear aircraft repossessions…