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FCCPC Orders Reversal Of Airfare Increase

Oluwasina Phillip

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has faulted the recent increase in airfare by Nigerian airlines, describing the action as illegal and against the anti-competition law.

The Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, who said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, explained that the Commission has dispersed an interim order stopping the increase.

Irukera, who said the action of the airline contravened Sections 17(a),(e),(l),(s),18(3)(a), 157 and 158 of the FCCP Act, noted that the commission will conduct a detailed investigation into the issue.

He said, “The FCCPA, Civil Aviation Act and implementing regulations of both legislations respect the right and prerogative of airlines (as other businesses) to set their fares independently subject to, and in accordance with prevailing law and applicable processes.

“However, prevailing law expressly prohibits coordination, agreement or cooperation between competitors in setting fares.

“As such, the Commission with the collaboration of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced an investigation with respect to this subject.

Although the investigation is at early stages, there is sufficient probable cause to proceed and also provide interim measures to restore a free and undistorted domestic aviation market.

“In the circumstances, the Commission is in addition to engaging the relevant stakeholders entering and dispatching interim orders under Sections 17(a),(e),(l),(s),18(3)(a), 157 and 158 of the FCCPA prohibiting the performance or continuation of any agreement or arrangement associated with, or resulting from discussions, deliberations, debates, argument or resolutions of/at any meeting of the AON or its members regarding any increase in air fares and or any conduct not necessarily directly in compliance, but in response to changes in the market on account of a compliance by others.

“The Commission enjoins scheduled domestic airline operators to ensure strict and prompt compliance with the Interim Order pending outcome of the Commission’s investigation.”

He said in a statement that from preliminary investigations, airline operators held meetings to discuss challenges experienced by their members.

However, the FCCPC Boss said that based on credible information, it was revealed that while attendees at the meeting did not arrive at a consensus, the meeting ended in a resolution that encouraged or consented to the coordinated conduct.

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