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25 Jun, 2008 05:41

Travellers pay as jet fuel suppliers line pockets

Last week the Federal Anti-monopoly Service said it was investigating the role of some oil majors in fixing prices. The service is now looking into domestic airlines and tour operators over claims that they could be raising ticket prices unfairly.

Russia’s anti-monopoly body has said it suspects some operators are using high fuel prices as an excuse to hike the prices on the most popular tourist routes.

The Federal Anti-monopoly Service has claimed the jet fuel suppliers are colluding in order to raise prices. The service might bring the case to court.

According to preliminary data, some suppliers appear to set the jet fuel wholesale prices lower for overseas trade than for the domestic market, the anti-monopoly agency has reported.

Jet fuel prices are above Russia’s average level in about 20 domestic airports, as well as being above the average price abroad, the service has announced.

Russian oil major Lukoil has said intermediaries are to blame for the high jet fuel prices at airports. Leonid Fedun, the Vice President of the company, believes airports should have two or three suppliers in order to prevent intermediaries setting up cartels.

“Among companies that supply fuel and kerosene to airports there are some firms with a dubious reputation. And there is monopolisation from their side. Some group which owns an airport sets up its own filling station and fixes prices themselves, with no control. Our position is that any major airport should have two or three independent fuel suppliers,” Fedun explained.