The Federal Government through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has moved to tackle incessant consumer complaints in the aviation industry.
The 2 government agencies have set up a joint technical committee to address these consumer-related issues which include high airfares, insensitive flight delays and cancellations and other unfair practices.
This was made known in Abuja on Thursday, by the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, who confirmed that the issues to be addressed include fairness, insensitive delays and cancellation of flights.
According to NAN, Irukera pointed out that other issues to be addressed were level of responsiveness of airlines when unavoidable delays and cancellations occurred and coordinated conduct in restraining competition in the industry.
What the Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC is saying
Irukera regretted that the aviation sector was one industry where the commission had received high number of complaints and dissatisfaction from customers.
He said, “What we are doing here is something that has been on the works and this is quite a time to strengthen the collaboration between the FCCPC and NCAA.
“Immediately the information about the increase in airfare came to us, we immediately set out to consider the best approach which is to start by engaging you (NCAA).
“What we did not anticipate was the share volume of responses from the public, the level of aggravation and despondence.
“As regulators from the competition standpoint, while we believe that businesses want to operate in a way that shares prosperity, their priority is the bottom-line.
“I am hopeful that our work together will intervene in that space to work with the airlines, to collaborate with them (airlines) to develop a more robust, sensitive and timely framework for how they do their business.’’
What the Director-General of NCAA is saying
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said his agency will collaborate with the FCCPC and all the stakeholders in the aviation industry to address these consumer-related issues.
Nuhu maintained that the joint committee will make sure that passengers are fairly treated and protected from indiscriminate flight cancellations and delays as well as airfare increases.
The NCAA boss said, “In our regulations, airfares are deregulated subject to meeting certain conditions.
“The airlines are supposed to submit information to the NCAA at least seven days before any increase and we are supposed to review and see the increases considering several factors that are used to determine these airfares.
“Where we see that the processes are not complied with, either FCCPC or NCCAA, will ensure that these are complied with.’’
What you should know
- The aviation industry has been in the news in the past few weeks over unfair treatment given to passengers by various domestic airlines.
- Some of these complaints border on regular flight delays and sometimes, cancellations by these airlines without adequate compensation to the passengers.
- There have also been allegations of collusion by these airlines to increase airfares by over 100%, to the detriment of the passengers, especially with the risky nature of the various highways due to kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other forms of criminality.
- Recall that it was earlier reported that the aviation industry recorded the third highest number of complaints to the FCCPC in 2021.