On July 4 the European Commission has launched a probe into the marketing deals signed between Ryanair and the Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (Association de Promotion des Flux Touristiques et Economiques - APFTE) concerning the carrier's operations at Montpellier.

"We will investigate whether regional and local authorities in France granted an undue economic advantage to Ryanair over its competitors, potentially harming other European airlines and having spill-over effects to other European regions," European Union commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager has said.

The Irish LCC has been receiving marketing support from the APFTE, a regional public body, since 2010.

The Commission suspects that these contracts could have constituted illegal state aid as they might have been signed on terms that no private investor would have accepted. Under the EU law, state aid has to pass the so-called "private investor test". The Commission has the right to order the return of the aid if it finds it to be illegal.

The investigation was launched after the Commission had received a complaint from an undisclosed party.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, Ryanair is currently a relatively minor airline at Montpellier in southern France. The Irish LCC operates only seven weekly departures in total on routes from Brussels Charleroi and Frankfurt Hahn, 3.3% of all. The biggest airlines at the airport are Air France, Volotea, and easyJet.