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Airlines urged to improve accessible travel options

The Chair of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) has personally written to Australia’s major airlines and airports, outlining the need to create an inclusive travel experience for people with disability.

Airports and air travel should be more accessible to people with disability and offer more assistance through inclusive procedures and better training of staff.

The Chair of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) has personally written to Australia’s major airlines and airports, outlining the need to create an inclusive travel experience for people with disability.

The Hon Ronald Sackville AO KC, says people with disability are frequently discriminated against at airports, left with damaged mobility equipment, or they are even injured after being dropped during transfer. 

A decision to write to the airline and airport Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) was made following two workshops held by the DRC last November that featured over 60 participants sharing their experiences with air travel. 

They highlighted the challenges posed by inaccessible facilities and services, plus a lack of supportive airline procedures and staff training that can actually assist people with disability.

Mr Sackville says his letter does not contain official recommendations by the DRC, but it is rather a private plea to improve travel accessibility.

“The Royal Commission’s terms of reference require us to investigate how Australia can promote a more inclusive society for people with disability,” explains Mr Sackville.

“The letters summarise the views expressed by people with disability at the workshops.

“The experiences of people with disability include damage to wheelchairs not rectified by airlines, being dropped on the floor because the hoist that accommodates wheelchairs is not used correctly, limited access to safe ramps and discrimination against people who rely on assistance dogs.

“The summaries are not findings or authoritative statements by the Royal Commission, but they indicate that people with disability often experience avoidable challenges when travelling by air and that more can be done by airlines and domestic airports to address those challenges.”

Australian Airport Association Chief Executive, James Goodwin, responded to the letter saying that the industry is determined to fix the issues raised by Mr Sackville. 

“Airports continue to work with other parts of the industry – including government agencies that operate at airports — and stakeholders to share information so we can continue to promote inclusive and consistent practices,” says Mr Goodwin.

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin also provided brief statements to The Guardian, stating they understand the importance of inclusive travel and are working hard to improve the experience. 

Read the whole article here.

Autor: Alex Jacobs   Quelle: (10.02.2023 - LW)
"Going International promotes access to education and training for all regardless of social, geographic and national borders."

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