FAAN’s N2000 luggage charge: Consumer Protection Council (CPC) frowns at consumers’ treatment, urges review
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has protested the reported attempts by officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to force passengers arriving the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to pay a N2000 charge on all checked-in luggage. The Council, in a letter signed by its Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, drew the attention of FAAN to the consumer outcry that greeted the indiscriminate implementation of the luggage charge, urging it to urgently review and take decisive steps to assuage the situation. According to CPC, it is worrisome “that while FAAN, as monitored in the media, is saying that the N2000 luggage charge was not imposed on all passengers, but strictly on cargo agents who use passenger planes to transport their cargo at the airport, passengers, who are not cargo agents, have complained about being indiscriminately charged for their checked-in luggage by FAAN officials”. Blaming the situation on “the seeming inexistence of proper guidelines that clearly differentiate a “cargo agent” from an ordinary passenger”, CPC stressed that FAAN should “review the implementation of the N2000 (Two Thousand Naira) luggage charge, in order to clearly delineate and adequately sensitise the affected group, and at the same time put in place a seamless implementation framework that will not pose any problem to ordinary consumers of air transport services”. “However, it is a core tenet of market liberalisation that producers and service providers would at all times ensure transparency and fairness in the marketplace by putting in place clear terms and conditions for products and services, orientating their officials/agents on their interface with consumers, educating consumers on products and services and giving them adequate notice for anticipated changes in operational environments”, it stated. While emphasising that adherence to the principles of transparent conduct is “more crucial and inescapable when the service provider is a Government agency like FAAN”, the Council observed that “the aviation industry is global in nature, hence operators are obliged to synchronise their operations with the global best practices of transparency, consistency and predictability”. The Council urged FAAN to attend to the matter with utmost dispatch to put an end to the avoidable confusion and outcry generated by the implemnation of the luggage charge in order to sustain the gains being made by the administration of Mr. President in the on-going transformation of the aviation sector.