Flamboyant Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary yesterday accused British Airways of "skyway robbery" by introducing fuel surcharges on air tickets.

BA was "profiteering at passengers' expense" added Mr O'Leary, chief executive of the Irish low-fare carrier.

Mr O'Leary donned a highwayman's white wig and black cloak at a Press conference to highlight what he described as BA's "skyway robbery".

Last week BA raised its fuel surcharge to £60 on a long-haul round trip.

Stressing that Ryanair would never introduce fuel surcharges, Mr O'Leary said yesterday that BA had now brought in six such surcharges since May last year.

He said: "While oil prices have doubled, BA fuel surcharges have gone up 12-fold. BA and other airlines are simply using oil price increases to jack up fares."

He added that Ryanair was able to spare passengers any surcharges despite fuel accounting for 26 per cent of operating costs compared with BA where fuel accounts for only 15 per cent of costs.