Last July Norway revised its air travel facilitation regulation tightening the European equality law existing rules.
On 16 July, the Norwegian Ministry of Transport adopted FOR 2013-07-16 nr. 919, the Regulation on universal design of airports and disabled people rights in air transport. The Kingdom of Norway is not a member of the European Union, but voluntarily complies with EU laws and regulations.
In the recent revision of air travel facilitation regulations Norway introduced tighter rules than those existing in EC1107/2006, the EU air travel equality regulation.
Among the most significant changes, Norway introduced a ban on physically carrying a passenger with reduced mobility on board the aircraft. Being manhandled can be a dreadful experience, as a veteran frequent flyer recently explained.
"I love flying, and the thrill of seeing new places, but the process is a means to an end, not a pleasure," Martyn Sibley told me in an interview. Martyn has severe reduced mobility due to his condition, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. "At the gate I use a transit seat to be lifted by two people, and to not be manhandled as much. The worst situations on landing are communicating my needs in a foreign language, which makes me feel scared of being dropped.”
Norway’s new facilitation law makes it compulsory for airport operators to use ramps, high loaders and mechanical hoists to help passengers with reduced mobility board and deplane.
The second most significant improvement is the clear definition of responsibility and nature of services to be provided to passengers with special needs in case of flight delays or cancellations.
Norway assigns airports the responsibility for providing assistance to passengers with disabilities in case of flight delays and cancellation. Airports are responsible to attend the needs of passengers, such as help with access to toilets, and to provide food and drinks.
Incredibly, this crucial aspect was completely forgotten by those who originally crafted EC1107/2006. The EU parliament is currently attempting to rectify the situation by introducing this requirement in the on-going revision of EC261/2004, the regulation governing rules applying in case of flight delays and cancellations.
Link to FOR 2013-07-16 nr. 919 (opens new window)