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Flying impunity as Fly540 operates without Air Operator Certificate

by kenya-tribune
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The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) mandated with ensuring objective of enhancing the welfare of the people of Kenya by protecting consumers from unfair and misleading market conduct has ordered immediate stoppage of Fly540 after it emerged that the airline is operating without the requisite Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

According to records, the troubled aviation firm’s AOC expired on September 30, 2022.

The firm also infringed on consumer related rights by falsifying their capacity to flying within the region.

The damning revelations now puts the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) on spotlight over illegal operations of Fly540 since the airline’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) expired 47 days ago.

By the time we were going on air, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) lead by the board chairman, Joseph Nkadayo and Director General Emile Nguza Arao had not given any explanation over the illegal operations by the aviation firm.

Until the ongoing investigations are finished, CAK ordered Fly540 to immediately stop and desist from advertising for flight bookings and related services in any form of electronic, print or social media, as well as from accepting any flight bookings from the general public or their representatives within the country.

CAK ordered Fly540 to return all funds obtained from customers it has sold tickets to since September 30, 2022, as well as any funds received from customers whose flights were arbitrarily canceled and whose tickets were purchased before September 30, 2022.

The firm has further been ordered by CAK to implement the aforementioned refunds within 30 days of November 15, 2022.

By the end of this month, Fly540 is required to provide the Authority with proof of compliance and notify all of its agents to stop selling tickets as of right away.

Fly540 was given the go-ahead by CAK to provide the authority with proof of compliance with the specified conditions.

The Directors will be subject to a punishment of no more than Sh500,000, five years in prison, or both, if they violate the legal order within seven days after receiving the Order dated November 15, 2022.

According to CAK, the perplexing details of the violations include false and misleading information about aviation’s ability to provide passengers with air transportation services, the possibility of changing flight schedules, arbitrary and-or brief notices of flight cancellations, and excessive delays in refunding customers.

CAK says Fly540 violated Sections 56 (1) of the Act, which prohibits engaging in conduct that is, in all the circumstances, unconscionable, as determined by the standards at Sections 56 (2) (a) (b) (d) and (e) of the Act, as well as Sections 55 (a) (ii) and (v) of the Act, which deal with false and misleading representations.

A similar warning had been issued on July 29, 2022 with reference number CAK/CPD/06/991/A (07)) requiring Fly540 to abide by the Act’s and the Competition Rules of 2019 in conducting business and outlining the consequences of the recurrence connoting to be under constant receivership of complaints from customers arising from continued non-compliance with the Act’s provisions.

The damning evidence was unearthed after CAK conducted market screening into consumer-related violations as a result of the rise in consumer complaints against Fly540 Limited, which led to the revelations.

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