Business

Japan FTC slaps aircraft fuel supplier for barring rival

JIJI

Japan's Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a cease-and-desist order to major aircraft fuel supplier Mainami Aviation Services Co. after the Tokyo-based firm allegedly obstructed a rival from entering the market.

The company was ordered to stop the questionable practice that allegedly violated the antimonopoly law and make sure that it will not conduct such behavior again.

Mainami had been the sole aircraft fuel supplier at Yao Airport in Osaka Prefecture until SGC Saga Aviation Co., based in the city of Saga, began the service there in November 2016.

Claiming that mixing fuel could lead to an accident, Mainami informed about 250 client firms, including in writing, that they would not be able to buy fuel from the company if they bought it from SGC Saga.

Mainami took steps against clients that bought fuel from the rival, such as stopping sales of its aircraft fuel at Yao Airport and 10 other airports in Japan and having them sign a document promising that they would not accuse Mainami even if an accident occurred, according to the FTC.

At least one company refrained from buying fuel from SGC Saga due to fears of being unable to buy fuel from Mainami.

There is no danger from mixing aircraft fuels made under the same standards, the FTC said. The antitrust watchdog conducted an on-site inspection of Mainami in May 2018.

Mainami expressed its opposition to the FTC action, saying that the company had to take the series of measures to ensure thorough quality control for its aircraft fuel and that the measures were not intended to bar rival companies from entering the aircraft fuel supply business.

The company added that it plans to argue for its policy of putting quality control first in a lawsuit, noting that it will not accept the FTC's claims.

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