Ryanair announced today it was referring BP to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over unjustified increases in fuel delivery charges at Prestwick and Belfast City airports.
The budget airline accused Air BP of profiteering. It called on the OFT to investigate its unjustified attempts to impose increases of more than 50% on the delivery cost of aviation fuel at the airports when inflation is running at 5%.
Air BP has a monopoly on fuel at the airports.
Ryanair said it wrote to the fuel supplier requesting an explanation for “these rapacious increases” but Air BP refused to provide any valid justification, claiming that the increases were due to rising costs of oil.
Ryanair said it called on the OFT to take immediate action against what it said was profiteering and abuse of monopoly.
Jim Callaghan, Ryanair’s director of legal and regulatory affairs, said: “This is the kind of blatant abuse of a monopoly position that the OFT was established to deal with.
“Air BP has a complete monopoly on the supply of aviation fuel at these airports and is abusing this position to unilaterally impose over 50% cost increases for the delivery of aviation fuel.
“This abuse comes at a time when BP and the other oil majors are making record billion-pound profits at the expense of the aviation industry, which is currently in crisis.
“Despite repeated requests, Air BP has failed to provide any valid justification for these inflation-busting increases.”
Mr Callaghan said that of the 150 airports at which Ryanair operates, Belfast City and Prestwick are the only two where Air BP has a monopoly and where they are subjecting users to “this kind of profiteering”.
He called on the OFT to take immediate action against Air BP to prevent it imposing the increases.
“At a time of recession, when consumer confidence is collapsing, this kind of blatant abuse by a massively profitable oil company cannot be accepted.”
He said Belfast City Airport had made it known to the airlines that if Air BP and Ryanair are unable to agree on pricing, then they will be looking at introducing alternative suppliers.
“The airport has told us that there has been no increase in infrastructure costs imposed by the airport, nor has there been expenditure on any facilities which justifies this increase,” he said.