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Air fare increase: NCAA debunks authorizing carriers to raise prices

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has debunked reports making rounds that it has encouraged airline operators in the country to increase their fares stating that no such authorization came from it as airfares, charges have been liberalized.

The regulatory agency in a statement today reacted, “All airlines’ tariffs for their services including fares, rates, add-on charges or terms and condition of service are fully liberalised, air fares and sundry charges have been statutorily deregulated and subjected to market forces.”

The NCAA in a statement signed by Sam Adurogboye the agency’s spokesman said that all air carriers or its agents  provide for the regulator, a tariff for that service showing all rates, fares and add-on charges, including the terms and conditions of free and reduced rate transportation for that service.

The statement also emphasized that the airline must obtain approval from the NCAA to introduce and or increase add-on charges or surcharges such as fuel, internet booking, insurance, security and similar surcharges, prior to implementation all to be done at least seven (7) days before the rates come into effect.

The statement read,” all air carriers or its agent shall:- (i) File with the Authority a tariff for that service showing all rates, fares and add-on charges, including the terms and conditions of free and reduced rate transportation for that service, as specified in IS.18.14.1.1.

(ii)           Obtain approval from the Authority to introduce and or increase add-on charges or surcharges such as fuel, internet booking, insurance, security and similar surcharges, prior to implementation.”

“(iii)         18.14.1.2. of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) says all tariffs are required to be filed of 18.14.1.1 and shall be done at least seven (7) days before the rates come into effect, except in the case of matching an existing rate for which no prior notification is required.”

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will therefore approve the fares accordingly. Prior to the approval, all fares filed with the Authority are subjected to Breakeven Analysis and this continues intermittently.”

The regulatory body stated that this analysis is to curb anti-competitive pricing and to ensure that fares are not too low as to impact on safety arising from inability to carry out prerequisite maintenance on their aircraft.

On the other hand, the statement continued, NCAA will similarly intervene if the fares are too high to avoid overpricing that will deny the teeming passengers access to air transportation.

The regulatory body also highlighted what became of airlines that failed to comply stating that it had the powers to enforce compliance and apply appropriate corrective sanctions.

“However, in 18.14.1.4. If an air carrier that offers a service fails to apply the fares,rates,charges or terms and conditions of carriage set out in the tariff that applies to that service, the Authority may direct it to :-

(i)            Take the corrective measures it considers appropriate; and

(ii)           Pay compensation for any expense incurred by a person adversely affected by its failure to apply the fares, rates, charges or terms and conditions set out in the tariff.”

The NCAA in turn called on all airline operators and stakeholders to discountenance the reports and continue to operate on the atmosphere of liberalisation and level playing field the Federal Government of Nigeria has put in place.

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