BRUSSELS - The pilot of a Ryanair plane was landing Saturday at the airport of Lanzarote (Spain) a group of a hundred young students from Belgium after an altercation with a flight attendant, forcing the Belgian authorities to intervene Sunday.
The company has agreed to repatriate them, but they will be divided into five or six sub-groups and will return aboard several aircraft, said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
"There was a fairly violent incident between a crew member and a member of the group. The captain then refused the 120 young people and involved the Spanish police for them to disembark," he said.
The aircraft was immobilized on three hours Lanzarote airport before leaving with other travelers. Young people had already had a difficult behavior on the outward journey, said a passenger.
A tax charged for excess baggage is the cause of the altercation. "A flight attendant was swept away and go into a spin, with fatigue and stress," said a young girl joined the group of students.
Thirty students returned to Belgium on Saturday evening by buying a passage on another airline. Others, lacking the financial means to return were stranded on the island and have contacted the Consulate of Belgium for their assistance.
Ryanair has not communicated on this incident, but according to television channels RTBF and RTL-TVI, it could take legal action against unruly students because of the costs generated by their behavior.
The additional tax on bags at the origin of the case, however, was ruled illegal by the Spanish justice system, said Jean-Philippe Ducart, spokesman for the Belgian organization Consumer Reviews Buy.