The Kenya Competition Authority has ordered Fly 540 to cease advertising flights following claims that the airline’s air operations certificate had expired.
The governing authority also instructed the airline to reimburse money ticket claims by November 30 in an update on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
“In furtherance of achieving its consumer protection mandate, the Authority has issued a cease and desist order against F1y540 following the sustained complaints and in order to prevent them from engaging in any consumer-related infringement.”
Some of the allegations against the airline include;
- 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
- Inordinate delays in refunding consumers.
“The ongoing investigations into the allegations against F1y540 are interrogating whether the airline has contravened section 55 of the Act outlawing false and misleading representation as well as section 56 on unconscionable conduct while undertaking its commercial activities. Therefore, in order to protect the public interest and prevent serious and irreparable damage to Kenyans, the Authority has issued a cease and desist order to the airline pursuant to section 37 of the Act.
Fly540 is hereby directed to, with immediate effect, cease and desist from advertising flight bookings through electronic, print, and social media or receiving any flight bookings from the Public or travel agents until the ongoing investigations are completed. F1y540 has also been ordered to refund customers with outstanding ticket refund claims by 30th November 2022.” Read part of the statement.
Five Forty Aviation Ltd, trading as Fly540, is a low-cost airline that commenced operations in 2006 and is based in Nairobi, Kenya, operating both passenger and cargo services.
The airline had two subsidiary airlines, Fly540 Ghana and Fly540 Angola, but has since focused its business expansion plans on East Africa. Fly540 started operations between Nairobi and Mombasa on November 24, 2006.
The airline’s name refers to its price of KSh5,540 per adult return fare between the above-mentioned cities. Lonrho Africa was a major investor in the company, paying US $1.5 million for a 49% stake.
In June 2012, Fly540 was sold for $85.7 million (KSh7.3 billion) to British investment firm Rubicon Diversified Investments (now Fastjet Plc), who purchased the airline from Lonrho group. Rubicon said it had chosen to acquire Fly540 as its platform for the launch of a budget airline in Africa to be modeled on Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier EasyJet.
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