By Marcus Leach

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has confirmed that the firm will take legal action against BAA Stansted.

A 49pc jump in fuel costs to €427 million (£377 million) lead to marginally improved first-quarter profits, but despite this legal action is inevitable.

The legal action will look to recover £35 million per year in excess charges over what the company is saying is 'a number of years'.

He claimed BAA's Spanish owner Ferrovial was overcharging at Stansted to fund Heathrow" — its main UK airport.

"Why should the airlines be paying for the monumental balls-up of buying houses around a runway that was never built," he said.

"How does traffic decline by 25pc but costs go up 16pc. Only a regulated monopoly could get away with it."

However, a statement from a BAA spokesman refutes the claims from Ryanair.

"We refute Ryanair's suggestion that BAA has artificially inflated costs," the spokesman said.

"Our costs and revenues are scrutinised by our regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, which also sets the amount we can charge airlines. Ryanair has no case for legal action."

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