IATA Announces Mobility Aids Transport Protocols
As part of ongoing efforts to facilitate travel for passengers with disabilities, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing some 300 airlines worldwide, announced this week a set of new protocols aimed at improving the transport of mobility aids.
Created in partnership with key industry stakeholders, the new guidance to airlines and handling agents is aimed at improving service and reducing damage to mobility aids as part of an improved travel experience for passengers with disabilities.
Key elements of the new regulations include:
-improved processes for booking and information exchange
-a recommendation to set up an electronic mobility aid tag, fixed to the mobility aid and containing technical information which will help airlines and ground handlers transport the aid safely
-guidance to airlines on developing a communications toolkit for engaging with passengers with disabilities, including a clearly signposted and accessible website area
-best practices for mobility aids loading, collection and return
-a recommendation for the introduction of specialized ramp professionals to be trained and deployed to handle mobility aids
-guidance on ways to resolve incidents where mobility aids have been damaged
-revised and enhanced training of ground handlers and airline staff
Additionally, recommendations note that airport design should meet accessibility standards
“Experience shows that communication is key to improving the handling of mobility aids. This guidance sets out steps for passengers, airlines, and the travel chain to exchange information at every stage of the travel journey. It will help airlines perform better and give passengers using mobility aids greater confidence,” said IATA Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, Nick Careen.
Careen went on to add that IATA would be working with members and stakeholders to put this guidance into practice and at the same time the industry will be reaching out to policymakers to encourage harmonization with national regulations.
According to IATA, the guidance will continue to be revised and expanded prior to developing into industry standards.
Great news as arriving and departing from Skiathos JSI has been both difficult and embarrassing, the ambulift has never been available.