Ryan International Airlines left a disabled passenger stranded aboard an aircraft for about seven hours, carried at least two disabled passengers off an aircraft by strapping them to wooden office chairs with clothing belts, and deplaned another passenger using a baggage conveyor belt, the Department of Transportation said in fining the charter carrier $400,000 earlier this week.
The settlement was a first for the DOT, in that all of its previous settlements under the Air Carrier Access Act were with scheduled service carriers.
The DOT said Ryan can use $355,000 of its fine to improve services to disabled passengers beyond what is required by law.
According to the DOT, Ryan said it has attempted, to the best of its ability, to provide full and equal access to all people with disabilities.
But Ryan also decided its best approach would be “to use this order as a means to improve its operations for all customers ... rather than expend time and resources to engage in costly litigation to dispute the allegations,” the DOT said.
Ryan, based in Wichita, Kan., provides air services for numerous clients, including Apple Vacations, SunTrips and TransGlobal Vacations as well as Gold Transportation.