Domestic airlines have no feedback mechanisms—Irukera


The director general of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mr. Babatunde Irukera has said that the domestic carriers have no appropriate mechanism for people to call in and have complaints resolved.

Irukera who made the observation at the 22nd annual seminar of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), held in Lagos recently said “consumer issues are primarily soft infrastructure issues” and that consumers will still be displeased if there are poor response mechanisms even in the best airport.

He said he had a collaborative parley with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the airlines on how to address consumer issues in the aviation sub-sector where the airlines complained about infrastructure challenges as well as regulatory bottlenecks.

“But what was clear to me and what I conveyed to them is, regardless of all these challenges, I think that airlines have to measure their responsiveness and sensitivity indexes with respect to their consumers. One thing is that they don’t even have the appropriate mechanism for people to call in and have complaints resolved.

“So one thing that I thought happened at that meeting was that it was a frank conversation and while I got a lot to understand the deficits that constitute challenges to them, they also got to understand the soft infrastructure issues because ultimately the consumer issues are primarily soft infrastructure issues.

“Even if you have the best airports but there is poor responsiveness, then consumers will still be displeased. And airline industry is one place where you can easily satisfy consumers. Nobody wants to fly when it is unsafe to fly; so if there is a delay for legitimate safety reasons, consumers will actually appreciate that.

“But what needs to happen is that first those delays have to be for legitimate reasons and your responsiveness and sensitivity to the issues must be such that you are upfront; you provide the information and then you provide options or find a way to mitigate whatever the inconveniences that consumers will be experiencing.

“In addition to that is the fact that 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,” he said.

On the value added tax (VAT) waiver for airlines, Irukera said it will benefit the consumers from the pricing stand point.

“When I look at it from the consumer stand point, it means it is going to translate into 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, which is more from a business stand point. But if that trickles all the way to benefit consumers, both from a service stand point and a pricing stand point then I think it is an excellent idea,” he said.





Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here