Nigeria Competitions Agency Shoots Down Airlines on Fare Hikes
By Bashir Olanrewaju
The Federal Competitions and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said it’s jointly investigating with the National Civil Aviation Authority, the recent price increases by airlines in the country for potential violation of the law.
Airline companies working under the umbrella of the Airline Operators of Nigeria had through a series of meetings in February arrived at a decision to set a base price of 50,000 naira per ticket for all domeatic flights, FCCPC said on Wednesday in a statement. The airlines named rising costs of maintenance, aviation fuel and foreign exchange for spares among their reasons for the increase.
“The FCCPC prohibits conduct or any coordination between competitors including on the platform of trade associations,” the agency said in a statement. It also cited sections of the law that “forbids competitors from fixing prices,” as well as “any conspiracy, combination, agreement or arrangement between competitors in any manner that unduly restrains or injures competition.”
The agency said nost of the airlines that participated in the meetings subsequently increased their base fares to 50,000 naira. Those wo did so immediately included Air Peace, Azman Air and United Nigeria Airline made the increases almost immediately. Aero Contractors, Max Air and Arik Air followed days later.
Nigerian air travel has seen a surge in demand in the last year as growing insecurity and violent attacks on the highways for richer people to abandon road travel.