HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

DGCA to airlines: Get disabled-friendly

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 21, 2014
First Published: 11:48 IST(21/7/2014) | Last Updated: 15:32 IST(21/7/2014)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a reminder to airlines for them to adopt the policy on assisting differently-abled fliers. The warning was sounded out after the officials found that some airlines are yet to adhere to its rules even as the permitted three-month period ended in June.

“The primary requirement of the circular was that airlines publish differently-abled fliers’ rights on their websites. But some of them have failed to comply with even that much,” said a senior DGCA official.

DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar did not comment whether his office had show caused airlines for the delay. The policy issued on February 28, was touted to scrap home-grown arbitrary facilities offered by airlines.

From allowing guide dogs inside aircraft cabins to giving differently-abled fliers first preference to large legroom seats, the policy introduced an array of assistance enjoyed by such fliers in matured aviation economies such as the US and the UK.

“We have asked airlines to appoint nodal officers to specifically look at grievances of such passengers,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity. Air passengers’ bodies, however, were skeptical about the DGCA’s claims over protecting fliers’ rights.

“The DGCA had launched a unique passenger service named in January. But the service was widely criticised as most mails sent to the email bounced back,” said a member of the government-appointed civil aviation economic advisory council requesting anonymity.


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