On Wednesday November 16, The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) announced that it had suspended Fly540’s advertising for providing inaccurate information to passengers after conducting a market screening into claims by Fly540 customers.
“Pursuant to Sections 31 and 70A of the Act, the Authority undertook market screening into consumer-related infringements emanating from over 50 consumer complaints lodged against the airline Fly540 Limited (Fly540).”
According to the authority, some of the allegations against the airline includes providing false and misleading information on its capability to provide air transport services to passengers and the possibility of amending flight itinerary; arbitrary and/or short notice cancellation of flights and inordinate delays in refunding consumers.
“Fly540 is hereby directed to, with immediate effect, cease and desist from advertising flight bookings through electronic, print and social media, or receive any flight bookings from the public or travel agents until the ongoing investigations are completed.
In addition to the cease-and-desist order, the competition authority also noted that it “is aware that your air operator certificate (AOC) expired on September 30, 2022, and accordingly, you are not authorized to offer services. Equally, we are aware that you have suspended operations at the [Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta] JKIA terminal 1D/terminal 2 and your offices at Watermark Business Park‚ Karen remain inaccessible to the affected public.”
In the announcement, the CAK explained that it was investigating whether the airline had contravened Section 55 of Kenya’s Competition Act, “outlawing false and misleading representation”, and Section 56 on “unconscionable conduct while undertaking its commercial activities”.
Fly540 has therefore been ordered to refund within 30 days:
- all money received from tickets sold from September 30 to date;
- all money received from tickets sold before September 30 but where flights were cancelled arbitrarily;
- to revert to CAK with evidence of the refunds by November 30, 2022;
- to immediately notify travel agents to stop selling Fly540 tickets;
- to furnish evidence of compliance with the order to CAK within seven days.
“Failure to comply with a lawful order of the Authority given in terms of the Act constitutes an offence under section 89 of the Act and on conviction the Directors shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term five (5) years or both,” the authority said.