Petition – accessible air transportation

On 10/25/2008 the petition about accessible air transportation was handed in to the German Parliament. On 11/6/2008 the petition was published on the web site of the German Parliament.

Wording of The Petition

The German Bundestag (Parliament) shall pass a law, that passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs) – for example wheelchair user – get access to toilets in the German air transportation.

In order to enable PRMs to access the toilet on an airplane, two central conditions have to be fulfilled: first, the provision of an on-board wheelchair and second, the toilet has to be big enough to be accessible for the passenger using the on-board wheelchair.

Explanation

Passengers with reduced mobility using a wheelchair are not able to access a toilet on an airplane even after the new EU regulation came into effect on 7/26/2008. The airlines don’t fulfil the regulation, which claims “Assistance in moving to toilet facilities if required”.

But even considering the case, that the Airlines would provide adequate assistance – for example if they would offer an on-board wheelchair – the PRM would not be able to physically enter the toilet: The doors of the toilet cabins are too narrow and the space too small to be wheelchair accessible.

So, the first step would be to implement the EU regulation and to provide on-board wheelchairs. But in order to create access to the facilities, the toilets have to be designed in a way that make them wheelchair accessible. The toilet cabin should be big enough to enable a transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet.

This petition is important, because it affects a huge number of passengers. According to the United Nations roundabout ten per cent of the population has a handicap – that is more then 600 million persons worldwide. In Europe this number amounts to 68 million persons, wherof Germany is home to 8.6 million persons with a disability (Source: Federal Statistical Office).

Encouragement and ideas for the online discussion

  • Are you aware, that passengers with reduced mobility are expected no to use aoilets on an aircraft within Germany and Europe? This means that in many cases PRMs are expected not to use the toilet for several hours! PRMs are denied to follow up basic needs: the access to toilets!
  • People with disabilities are the biggest minority in the world. Why are they still being that heavily discriminated in respect to air transportation?
  • A new EU regulation (1107/2006) came into effect by July 2008. Why did the EU Commission fail in making the regulation more concrete? An essential claim should have been that air carriers are obliged to provide on-board wheelchairs. This claim should have been stated  as clearly and detailed  as in the US Air Transportation law “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel”.
  • In the process of making new regulations, the commission of the European Union often takes a look to the way it was done in the United States. Obviously, they did not do it concerning this regulation. Why not?

You can discuss your view here in the comments or you go directly to the discussion forum of the petition (It is necessary to be logged in in order to send a comment).

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