Regulatory bodies condemn air ticket hike

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority have inaugurated a joint technical committee to address consumers’ complaints in the aviation sector in the wake of the recent hike in the price of airfare by airlines.

Airlines had announced increment in the cost of air tickets to a minimum of N50,000 while passengers would no longer get discounts for early bookings.

During the inauguration of the joint technical committee, the Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the sudden price increase by the airlines looked coordinated regardless of the argument by the carriers.

“It appears to be a coordinated conduct, how do we address what is becoming more incessant from a delay and cancellation standpoint to the level of responsiveness and sensitivity the airlines show when unavoidable or permissible delays or cancellations occur?” he said.

“And more recently, what appears to be a coordinated conduct in restraint of competition and completely distorting a market that has become the vital backbone to the nation. These are really serious issues.”

The FCCPC CEO said the agency did not expect the huge responses from air passengers over the hike in airfares.

Irukera also informed that the FCCPC started engaging the NCAA on how best to resolve it immediately the information about the increase in airfares was disclosed to his agency.

“But what we didn’t anticipate was the shared volume of responses from the public. We didn’t anticipate the level of aggravation and despondency that we’ve seen,” he said.

Irukera said the issues had to be addressed by the two agencies for the benefit of Nigerians, stressing that there were no options on the matter before both organisations.

“Any type of understanding or arrangement between competitors can only work in one direction and that is hardship and a loss of value to consumers,” he stated.

Irukera also said the aviation industry has one of the highest complaints and dissatisfaction from Nigerians.

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