The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has appealed to domestic airline operators to shelve their proposed service shutdown, considering the effect on passengers, difficulties, and hardship associated with the action.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
Irukera said the commission was engaging both operators and the leadership of major fuel marketers in a discussion to understand the global supply challenges and possible steps to ameliorate the same.
He, however, frowned at the rising consumer feedback that airlines had continued to sell tickets beyond May 9, the date for the proposed service shutdown.
According to him, if 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 provider knows will not or does not intend to provide or deliver.
“It is misleading and deceptive under Section 123 of the FCCPA to represent that a service will be delivered on a certain date when the provider knows the same is false or improbable.
“If a service provider is unable to provide a service on account of its own decision, not a countervailing circumstance, the obligation for a refund is sacrosanct.
“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 strongly advocates engagement among all stakeholders across the value chain to mitigate the current constraints and develop an acceptable interim arrangement.
“This is 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,” he said.
Irukera said that the commission would continue to monitor the sensitive and evolving situation and remained committed to supporting engagements to provide solutions and stability.
NAN reports that Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had said they would shut down operations from May 9 till further notice, due to the high cost of aviation fuel and other operational costs.
The association, through its President, Dr Sarina Abdulmunaf, said that aviation fuel price (Jet A1) had risen from N190 per litre to N700 currently.