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Ryanair flies from Marseille base over illegal working practices case

media Michael O'Leary at a news conference at Marseille airport, 13 October Photo: Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Low-cost airline Ryanair announced on Wednesday that it will go ahead with the closure of its base in Marseille. The Irish carrier had threatened to pull out because French prosecutors accused the airline of illegal working practices.

“We are very disappointed at this decision by the French authorities to initiate proceedings against Ryanair’s base in Marseille,” said Ryanair’s boss Michael O’Leary.

French prosecutors claim Ryanair had illegally declared 120 employees as working in Ireland, when they worked in France.

“These are not French jobs, but rather Irish jobs on Irish aircraft,” said O’Leary. “This ill-judged legal action has therefore cost Marseille and France jobs, foreign investment and lost visitors in circumstances where our Marseille base fully complies with EU regulations for transport workers.”

On Saturday O'Leary threatened to leave in a letter to the Le Parisien newspaper.

Thirteen routes from Ryanair’s Mediterranean hub will cease to operate from 11 January 2011. The airline’s four aircraft and 200 staff will be moved to airports in Spain, Italy and Lithuania. Ten routes will continue to operate to and from Marseille, including Brussels, London, Madrid and Rome.

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