Civil Aviation Requirements on Carriage of disabled passengers - Its rightful Impact on the airlines
Airlines can NOT
· Refuse to carry unescorted disabled passengers or their mobility aids and devices, even if they do not hold any disability certificate.
· Require Medical clearance or special indemnity forms from persons with disabilities.
· Require a disabled passenger to provide additional information once the ticket has been confirmed. In case of online booking, all requisite information regarding specific needs of the passengers must be collected during the online booking process.
· Limit the numbers or types of disabled passengers on their flights.
· Refuse to engage in Interline transactions for carriage of disabled passengers, or to commence/continue interline transportation of such passengers.
PROVISION OF ASSISTANCE
· Provide necessary assistance to persons with disabilities who wish to travel alone without an escort.
· Provide seamless assistance from the departing airport terminal to the destination airport terminal.
· Provide individual briefing on emergency procedures, cabin layout and the available specialised equipment to disabled passengers and their escorts.
· Provide appropriate in-flight support including assisting passengers with impaired mobility to get to the onboard toilet.
ENSURING APPROPRIATE STAFF TRAINING
Airlines MUST ENSURE that
· Staff assigned to handling disabled passengers, example Cabin Crew/Commercial Staff including Floor Walkers and Counter Staff etc., MUST be trained in:
o Disability Awareness,
o Assisting persons with reduced mobility (on-ground and during embarkation), and
o Assisting Unaccompanied Passengers with Disabilities (In-flight).
· Appropriate Training is provided to the loader staff to ensure proper storage and handling of mobility equipment.
· Staff Training for assisting emergency evacuation of disabled passengers.
PROVISION OF REQUISITE EQUIPMENT
Airlines MUST ENSURE
· Availability of wheelchairs at all stations without any extra charge.
· Availability of boarding/alighting devices (such as ambulifts, aisle chairs etc.) and low floored accessible buses without any extra charge to the passengers.
· Provision of narrow onboard wheelchairs to enable passengers with reduced mobility to access lavatory facilities.
· In-flight availability of information in accessible formats such as Braille, Large Print etc.
ADAPTING POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES
· Formulate and publish detailed procedures for:
o Carriage of disabled persons,
o Emergency evacuation of disabled passengers, and
o Carriage of Service Dogs in Cabin.
o Medical Clearances.
· Ensure that when overnight accommodation is offered, e.g. during forced overnight halt, or when offloaded, Wheelchair users SHOULD be allocated accessible accommodation.
Complied by Shivani Gupta, Director AccessAbility