18/11/2010

Stranded Ryanair Flight Hit By Sit In

Some 100 passengers on a Ryanair flight have staged a sit in protest after their delayed flight eventually touched down - 225 miles from its destination.

Passengers aboard the FR5222 flight from Morocco to France were already in an unforgiving mood after their plane left the airport three hours behind schedule.

When the aircraft touched down in the Belgian city of Liege at 11.30pm, passengers decided to stage a sit down protest on the plane until they were taken directly home on the plane.

Passengers were only persuaded to leave the aircraft at 3.30am yesterday morning by police and made their way out on to the tarmac to be driven home by coach.

A spokesman for Ryanair said the initial diversion had taken place due to fog at the French runway, and that passengers became "disruptive". A spokesman for the Liege airport, said that some of them were "very aggressive, very rude," adding: "It was a very tense situation".

Passengers aboard the plane said they had as yet received no formal apology from the airline.

Meanwhile this morning, responding to reports of further cuts in flights out of Dublin by Ryanair, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Competition Olivia Mitchell said the choice of destinations continues to narrow for Irish visitors.

Ms Mitchell said Irish consumers are losing travel options and facing increased costs by being forced to pay for two connecting flights where a single direct flight was formerly available.

"Irish business is suffering as tourism implodes, borne out by the drop of 5.5 million passengers though Dublin airport alone in the last two years.

"Adding a travel tax to airlines already facing a huge passenger loss due to the recession is real folly for an island nation. We need easy, cheap and regular access for tourists, for business travellers, for our growing diaspora and of course to transport fragile, high value exports."

(DW/BMcC)

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