Circa February 2020
REPORT: Nigerian Passengers Are Not Inferior, FCCPC Boss Tells Airline Operators
Babatunde Irukera, CEO, FCCPC has decried the poor treatment of Nigerian passengers by domestic & international airlines, saying :
“What makes people in this country inferior? Our education education is not inferior, our exposure is not inferior, our sophistication is not inferior. The only thing that is inferior is what we get.”
Mr. Irukera was addressing airline operators at a meeting held by FCCPC in conjunction with @NigerianCAA in Lagos.
He spoke about a wide range of consumer issues in the aviation industry.
“Whether domestic or international, why should people in a certain continent be treated any different? And I dare say on that continent, they pay more… So if you can’t give them more, at a minimum, you can’t give them less.
“I cannot buy a ticket to depart New York on the 21st of December this year & won’t pay the high season price. So what possible excuse can we have for saying that the equipment (aircraft) on that route in that season is such that it cannot take the passengers & their bags?
“You know that come December, Nigerians will travel. You are charging them a premium for that travel…, because you know that there will be a demand. How do you prepare for that demand, prepare to reap the benefits of the demand, & don’t prepare to carry the baggage?
“So you have captured this season as your high season increased margins, and you are not capturing it as your high service.
“People arrive in this country without their wedding clothes, & the purpose they came home was to get married. People are about to start their lives, & they start on that kind of note…And you carry on like it’s no big deal.
“And you think because there is some kind of Montreal Convention that limits exposure. No, there is no such limit of exposure. Your conduct is wilful & reckless. The convention says in the ordinary course of business.
“If I were going to Court, I will establish that you already set a fare, you’ve been doing this thing for years, you know this is how it will be this season, you know the capacity of this aircraft & you know how many passengers you will carry. You are selling every seat on it.
“That conduct on the part of the airline takes it out of whatever the convention says, because your conduct is wilful,… & it is reckless.
“(We will) pull up that section of the law that says in addition to finding what is wrong, we will assess the injury & then determine the compensation. And I have the liver for it. Let it it not be the passenger who is going to struggle in court for what is rightfully theirs.
“When you are the ones going to Court, & you are struggling to get the court to stay, to tell me, no, do not proceed against the organisation in recovering this N5 million that you have awarded against her, it changes the dynamics.
“in any case, anyone who has the appetite for testing the law will find out that we have the appetite for enforcing the law.
“One day something will break. And when it breaks, many things will fall apart.
“Aviation hasn’t felt FCCPC so badly, because we have been deferring to our brothers in NCAA. But with our relationship, the nature & its structure, coming together strongly, it won’t be business as usual.