New EU legislation enhancing the rights of disabled people and those with reduced mobility when travelling by air has been agreed by the European Parliament and Council.
Airport operators will now be legally obliged to provide services and facilities that will help such passengers throughout their experience at the airport, from their arrival in the car park through to the plane’s door.
Current responsibility for such services is shared between airports and airlines which can result in variations in the levels of service experienced by people of reduced mobility.
The UK Presidency has worked closely with the EU Parliament to find a satisfactory solution to the issue. It has been concluded that a central service provided by the airport operator helping passengers who need assistance as they board, disembark and transfer between flights was the most appropriate way of guaranteeing a consistent level of service across the Union.
The new legislation will also require that airlines provide certain facilities, equipment and information needed by disabled people and those with reduced mobility whilst they are on board their aircraft.
Aviation Minister Karen Buck said:
“The new rules on the rights of disabled people and those with reduced mobility when travelling by air will make a real improvement to the lives of these members of our Community. I hope it gives them the assurance to take full advantage of the opportunities for air travel.
“Such an agreement shows how, when the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament work together, real improvements can be made for the benefit of our citizens.”