EU Commission

Question: 31.5.2008

Dear EU Commission / Dear Mr. Christophe Dussart,

PRM’s – Passengers with reduced mobility – do not have the same rights as other passengers: on European flights PRM’s cannot use toilets!

European air carriers do not enable accessibility to toilets due to economical reasons. This is an inhuman and discriminatory situation and politically not acceptable: Policy has to intervent.

My claim to the EU Commission is to adopt a law that obliges airlines to accessibility on aircrafts. This law must commit airlines to ensure that:

1. every single aircraft has an on-board wheelchair
2. each single aircraft has an accessible toilet

At the moment the complete opposite is the case:

1. none (!) of the airplanes used on European flights dispose of an on-board wheelchair.
2. none (!) of the airplanes used on European flights have wheelchair accessible toilets.

I already contacted you on this matter on the 21.12.2006 and I received an answer on the 5.02.2007 where you wrote, that “It is correct that Regulation 1107/2006 itself does not contain as provisions on wheelchair accessible toilets aboard planes.” (see blog entry, see your reply (PDF)).

The question is why access to toilets has not been a topic for this regulation? How can you talk of accessibility on airplanes without enabling PRM’s access to toilets?

In order to implement accessibility on airplanes it is essential to have access to toilets. But: Neither German law nor European law obliges Air carriers to design/modify their aircrafts in order to accomodate PRM’s.

As long as air carrieres are not legally obligated no change will happen – airlines like the Deutsche Lufthansa will not implement accessible toilets on board. It is the responsibility of you – the EU commission – to adopt laws to assure and protect basic passenger rights!

Dear Mr. Dussart, you are very welcome to comment on this paper.

Kind regards,
Kay Macquarrie

Answer: 1.7.2008

Dear Mr Macquarrie

I thank you for your message.

Your concern directly relates to the lack of accessible toilets on intra-EU flights, which represents a very significant hindrance for people in a wheelchair.

As I mentioned during the ILA 2008 Conference, Regulation 1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air constitutes a significant step forward in allowing persons with reduced mobility to benefit from accessibility, non-discrimination, assistance and information when travelling by air.

The issue of disability-friendly on-board built equipment such as accessible toilets is outside the scope of Regulation 1107/2006. Nevertheless, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council by 2010 at the latest on the operation and the effects of this Regulation. The report shall be accompanied where necessary by legislative proposals. One point that could be evoked at this occasion is the issue of accessible toilets aboard planes.

Best regards,

Christophe DUSSART
Policy officer
EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Question: 30.8.2008

Dear EU Commission, dear Mr. Faross, dear Mr. Dussart,

my concern is about passenger rights and especially about the obligation for air carriers to provide on-board wheelchairs in short-haul flights.

Still, after coming into effect of regulation 1107/2006 („Regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air“) Airlines don’t seem to offer adequate help to enable persons with reduced mobility (PRM) access to toilets on short-haul flights. The German Lufthansa for example grants to fulfil the regulation, but the airline won’t give any further information on how they are going to implement the access. They won’t answer the question whether they are going to provide an on-board wheelchair (compare Lufthansa correspondece under http://www.rechtaufklo.de/?page_id=69 in German language) which would transfer PRM’s from the seat to the toilet.

Unfortunately it is not part of the regulation how the airlines should implement the assistance in moving passengers to toilet facilities. In the regulation, it is only stated and claimed, that “Assistance in moving to toilet facilities if required.” (cp: ANNEX II, Assistance by air carriers)

Finally, what does this mean for air carriers? Are they obliged to carry on-board wheelchairs with them? Because the bottom line is: without an on-board wheelchair no transfer from the seat to the toilet will be possilbe.

My question is: does the EU Regulation 1107/2006 or any other regulation oblige airlines to provide on-board wheelchairs on short-haul flights?

Kind regards
Kay Macquarrie

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