By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has pleaded with the domestic airline operators in Nigeria to suspend their intention to shut down airline operation on Monday May 9, 2022 due to high cost of jet fuel.
Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, in a statement on Saturday, said the government become aware of a public service announcement by Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) regarding the impracticality of continuing operations beyond Monday, under the prevailing circumstances of high and rising cost of jet fuel.
The Commission encourages and implores domestic airlines to consider the effect of the proposed shutdown on passengers and the magnitude of difficulties and hardship associated with such an action, Irukera said.
According to him, “the Commission does not trivialse 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,” he stated.
He said that the commission was 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.
FCCPC said it continues to monitor “this sensitive and evolving situation and remains committed to supporting engagements” to provide solutions and stability.