Consumer Commission Urges AON To Rethink Planned Domestic Flights Shutdown

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Barr. Babatunde Irukera

The Federal Competiton and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has encouraged and implored Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON) to consider the effect of the proposed shutdown on passengers and the magnitude of difficulties and hardship associated with such an action.

Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera who said this in a statement on Saturday was concerned that the action may have direct negative impact on the consumers.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that  the airline operators in Nigeria had on Friday, announced they would suspend operations from Monday due to the high cost of aviation fuel which had hit N700 per litre.

The FCCPC also expressed concern that in the face of such prevailing circumstances, tickets were reportedly being sold to customers beyond the date announced for the proposed service shutdown.

The FCCPC boss said: “The Federal Competiton and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has become aware of a public service announcement  by Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) regarding the impracticality of continuing operations beyond Monday, May 9th, 2022 under the prevailing circumstances of high and rising cost of jet fuel.

“The Commission does not trivialise the disruption and potential challenge to business continuity and survivability an inordinately high cost of jet fuel presents to domestic aviation, especially coupled with other rising cost of operations and foreign exchange.

“Indeed, the Commission has been in discussion with the leadership of major fuel marketers to understand the global supply challenges and possible steps to ameliorate same.

“Accordingly, the Commission strongly advocates engagement among all stakeholders across the value chain to mitigate the current constraints and develop an acceptable interim arrangement to address problems and costs associated with global supply constraints on account of a war, sanctions associated with the war, and a fragile ongoing post pandemic recovery in aviation.

“The Commission is however concerned with rising consumer feedback that airlines have continued to sell tickets beyond the date announced for the proposed service shutdown.

“To the extent that this is accurate, and the airlines have decided and are resolute, it will be egregious exploitation of consumers and a violation of law to purport to sell a service that the service provider knows, it will not, or does not intend to provide or deliver.

“It is misleading and deceptive under S.123 of the FCCPA to represent a service will be delivered on a certain date when the provider knows the same is false or improbable.

“The Commission is optimistic that airline operators will not deliberately sell tickets for flights they do not intend to operate, and is as such hopeful that a solution short of a shutdown will emerge accordingly.

“The Commission continues to monitor this sensitive and evolving situation and remains committed to supporting engagements to provide solutions and stability.”

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