Persons with disabilities represent more than 1 billion people worldwide and 15% of the global population. The World Health organization (WHO) reports that this number is increasing due to population aging and the spread of chronic diseases as well as due to improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability that includes aging population, dementia and autism.
The UN Convention mandate signatories states to adopt legislation, policy and other measures to implement the right of person with disabilities, However states are not coordinating their legislations and the industry is witnessing an increasing number of differing rules related to passengers with reduced mobility. In her presentation during the IATA Global Media Day in Geneva on Nov 11, 2019, Linda Ristagno IATA’s Manager of External Affairs outlined that there are various reasons why airline members of IATA are wanting to provide a better service to passengers with disabilities
This includes the fact that it is the right thing to do to make air travel accessible to every person, but also Aviation depends on harmonized regulatory framework and it is no different with accessibility.
“If we can drive such framework for our industry, that is important for airlines but more importantly for to the passenger they serve because today’s regulations are not harmonized and both passengers and airlines do not know what to expect when travelling between different jurisdictions “said Mrs Ristagno.
Damage events are can be very painful for passengers as these mobility aids are often considered as an extension of their bodies and essential to their autonomy. Currently there is a need for new and standardised process to avoid damage and make the acceptance of these aids more comfortable for passengers and all those who handle them across the chain.
The IATA resolution 700 related to assisting passengers living with disability first came into affect in 1952, making IATA one of the first industries addressing the needs of passengers with disabilities.