Major US carriers have filed a complaint with federal regulators to seek reimbursement from Buckeye Pipe Line Co., alleging the company’s rates for shipping jet fuel from its Linden, New Jersey, refinery to New York-area airports “are not just or reasonable.”

In a June 5 complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), American Airlines subsidiary American Aviation Supply LLC, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, New York-based JetBlue and Chicago-based United Airlines said the company is “grossly over-recovering its cost of service such that investigation and hearing on Buckeye’s rates are necessary.”

The complaint estimates American overpaid Buckeye by approximately $1 million between May 1, 2017, and April 30, 2019, and stands to overpay by $1.8 million annually going forward under proposed rate increases; Delta overpaid $1.7 million and would overpay $3.2 million; JetBlue overpaid $0.9 million and stands to overpay $1.7 million; and United overpaid by $1.6 million and would see its annual overpayment going forward rise to $2.9 million.

"United believes that the rates charged by Buckeye Pipe Line Company are unjust and unreasonable, and we look forward to a speedy and fair resolution of this claim,' said a United spokesperson in an emailed statement.

A representative from Delta declined to comment on the matter. JetBlue and the American subsidiary did not respond to requests for comment. Buckey partners, the parent company for the pipeline operators, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Delta, JetBlue and United, along with Continental Airlines and US Airways, sued Buckeye in September 2012, challenging the “justness and reasonableness” of the company’s rates in the New York City market. American also filed a suit along the same lines in September 2014.

The airlines reached a settlement with the company in June 2015, which saw Buckeye reduce its planned rate increases and reimburse the carriers for overpayments. Those terms remained in effect for three years, expiring in September 2018.

The terms of the settlement permit the carriers to file a complaint challenging the company’s rates following the contract’s expiration, and to seek reimbursements for overpayments that occurred during and after the period covered under the agreement.

Buckeye is one of the largest independent liquid petroleum products pipeline operators in the US, with approximately 6,000 miles of pipeline located primarily in the east coast and gulf coast regions of the US and in the Caribbean.

Ben Goldstein, ben.goldstein@aviationweek.com