NCAA Committee To Investigate Foreign Airlines Over High Prices

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)

NCAA Committee To Investigate Foreign Airlines Over High Prices

Chris Najomo, Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has set up a 10-person committee to investigate foreign airlines’ rising fares in a bid to make air travel more affordable for Nigerians.

This was disclosed in a press statement released to journalists on Thursday, signed by Director-General, NCAA, Chris Najomo, following a two-day meeting between NCAA and foreign airlines, held at the headquarters of the NCAA in Abuja.

The committee, chaired by Director of Special Duties, Horatius Egua at NCAA, aims to ensure foreign airlines comply with government directives to unblock low-inventory tickets that have been inaccessible for over 18 months as well as recommend appropriate pricing of tickets in Nigeria compared to similar markets in the West African sub-region.

Other members of the committee are: Michael Achimugu, Director Public Affairs and Consumer Protection NCAA; Rotimi Arogunjo General Manager, Licensing and Statistics NCAA; Ogechi Louis-Azode Deputy General Manager, Legal Services NCAA; Susan Akporiaye President National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies; Olaoluwa Oladipupo Assistant General Manager, Fairs and Tariffs NCAA; David-Ojuigo Asst. Director FCCPC; Yinka Folami incoming President NANTA; and Florence Abebe, Chief Legal Officer FCCPC while Ifueko Abdulmalik, Senior Special Assistant, DG, NCAA is to serve as Secretary.

Egua emphasised the need for fair pricing, saying, “This is very discriminatory in nature. We cannot continue to pay higher fares compared to other countries in the sub-region that have similar distances, using the same operating aircraft. We have the market and in some cases we have more liberal taxes? This is unacceptable and we totally reject this.

He explained, “For instance, a distance of six hours from Ghana to London may sometimes cost about $800 while similar distance with similar operating aircraft cost over $2000 in Nigeria. This is discriminatory and an unfair practice and we reject this in totality,”

“In the last several months, Nigerians have been made to pay higher fares on international flights unjustly as all the foreign airlines increased their flight tickets astronomically citing the high exchange rate as well as other sundry issues and also deliberately blocked low inventory tickets making travel unbearable for Nigerians.”

The NCAA, following the outcry by Nigerians over the astronomical increase in air tickets, convened the two-day meeting with the foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.

The meeting, brought together representatives from NCAA, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies with the International Air Transport Association, who represented the foreign airlines.

Expressing strong concern over discriminatory practices and inflated fares, the authority expressed reservation and demanded an immediate reversal of the trend.

Key resolutions at the meeting included that the NCAA, FCCPC, NANTA, and the foreign airlines include the reduction of ticket costs and the unconditional unblocking of lower inventory tickets to the Nigerian market.

In response to NCAA’s directive, several international airlines, including Lufthansa German Airlines, KLM, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, and Turkish Airlines, have reportedly released all categories of low-inventory tickets.

Najomo assured Nigerians that the NCAA would do its best to protect their interests.