…Says Nigerian airlines complain of infrastructural challenges, regulatory bottlenecks
The director general of Consumer Protection Council, CPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera has called for passengers understanding when delays are for legitimate safety reasons.
Irukera observed that nobody wants to fly when it is unsafe to fly, stressing that if there is a delay for a legitimate safety reasons, consumers need to actually appreciate that.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the 22nd League of Airport and Aviation Correspondent, LAAC seminar in Lagos, the CPC boss noted that there are lots of challenges confronting the airlines in the country which they have been complaining about, like infrastructural challenges, regulatory bottlenecks and others.
Irukera said that though there has been some improvement but the Council is confronting those challenges.
The CPC DG emphasised that regardless of all these challenges, the airlines have to measure their responsiveness and sensitivity indexes with respect to their consumers.
He pointed out that the airlines do not even have the appropriate mechanism for people to call in and have complaints resolved.
Irukera explained that what needs to happen is that those delays have to be for legitimate reasons and that the airlines responsiveness and sensitivity to the issues must be such that they are upfront, by providing the information and options or finding a way to mitigate whatever the inconveniences that consumers will be experiencing.
According to Irukera, “there is a sector regulator and working with that sector regulator is going to be important for us to truly provide the kind of 360 degree protection that is required. I am also grateful that the sector regulator has agreed to work with us and has invited me to their meeting and we had an opportunity to jointly confront the airlines, so I think that is a good thing”.
On VAT waiver for airlines, Irukera said this is going to translate to a better experience for consumers, fairer pricing for the consumer.
“I am all in support of it. So I don’t look at things from a tax stand point, that is more from a business stand point. But if that trickles all the way to benefit to consumers, both from a service stand point and a pricing stand point then I think it is an excellent idea”, Irukera added.
He said the CPC has a working relationship with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, where they collaborate, cross refer complains and address them from the two different legislative stand point.
The CPC boss stated further that there are some mechanism for resolutions that exist in the Consumer Protection Council Act that don’t exist in the Civil Aviation Act and then there are some that exist in the Civil Aviation Act that don’t exist in the Consumer Protection Act.
He said: “All we ultimately try to do is to make sure that there is regulatory clarity for the airlines to understand what exactly they are confronted with and we also make sure that whichever approach we take is what brings the best benefit for the consumers.”