The door has been opened for Ryanair to return to operating bases in France with a French supreme court ruling over local employment contracts.
The Irish low cost carrier had convictions against it cancelled as the long-running case was returned to the court of appeal in Paris for a rehearing.
The airline was ordered to pay a fine of €200,000 and €8.1million in damages almost four years ago over employment certificates issued by Ireland in respect of its pilots and cabin crew who were temporarily based in Marseille.
Ryanair faced another case last year relating to the same issue.
The supreme court ruling now obliges the French authorities to accept the Irish E101 certificates, which were issued to Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Marseille between 2006 and 2010.
Ryanair chief people officer Eddie Wilson said: “We believe that this decision will now lead to an early and favourable conclusion of the criminal cases and tax demands in Aix-en-Provence.
“This should in due course lead to the repayment of up to €13 million of social tax payments which Ryanair was required to put into escrow to cover two such cases in 2014 and 2017.
“We welcome this French supreme court ruling, which now paves the way for Ryanair to consider re-entering the French market.
“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.”
These will be manned by with pilots and cabin crew based in France, on local French contracts, and paying their social taxes in France rather than Ireland, according to Wilson.
“We have asked our lawyers to expedite the rehearing of this case by the Paris court of appeal now that the French supreme court and the European Cort of Justice in Strasbourg has ruled in favour of Ryanair and the Irish issued E101 certificates.”
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