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Europe Wants Airlines To Waive Damaged Wheelchair Limits

European ParliamentThe on-going revision of regulation EC261/2004 introduces the waiver of the Montreal Convention limits for lost or damaged wheelchairs.

 

The proposed revision of EC261/2004, the regulation establishing rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay, also contains the proposal of amending EC2027/97, the regulation establishing airlines liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air.

 

In its proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council, the EU Commission introduced an amendment of significant importance for passengers traveling by air with wheelchairs.  

 

“Whenever carrying checked wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices, the air carrier and its agents shall offer each person with reduced mobility as defined in Article 2(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/200625 the option to make, free of charge, a special declaration of interest pursuant to Article 22(2) of the Montreal Convention, at booking and at the latest when the equipment is handed to the carrier.”

 

The “special declaration of interest”, a document waiving the limits on payment for lost or damaged checked baggage is in use with all airlines. However, all air carriers charge a fee (premium) on the value declared by the passenger at the time of checking in the baggage. 

 

The proposal of the European Commission is to waive this charge for personal wheelchairs and all other assistive devices belonging to passengers with special needs. 

 

In the past few years, EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas has been relentlessly pursuing widening the scope of the EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallasrights of passengers, in particular passengers with special needs traveling by air.

 

The European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism recently published a draft report containing amendments to the proposal of amending EC261/2004 and EC2027/97 of the European Commission.

 

“Whenever carrying checked wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices, the air carrier and its agents shall offer each person with a disability or reduced mobility as defined in Article 2(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 the option to make, free of charge, a special declaration of interest pursuant to Article 22(2) of the Montreal Convention, at booking and at the latest when the equipment is handed to the carrier. A model form for such declaration of interest is set out in Annex 2b to this Regulation.”

 

Brian Simpson MEPThe amendment proposed by the Committee on Transport and Tourism chaired by British MEP Brian Simpson (Labour) identifies and resolves the problem of unavailability of a template for the declaration of interest.

 

The European Parliament, who negotiates the final wording of the amended regulations with the European Commission, is in the process of adopting its official position on the revision of this legislation. 

 

At this time, stakeholders and associations are preparing the 11th hour round of fine-tuned proposals and final suggestions to support the work of both the EU Parliament and the EU Commission.

 

Reduced Mobility Rights is drafting its suggestions to ensure the legislation meets the requirements of passengers with special needs traveling by air.

 

With regard to the waiver of limits for damaged or missing wheelchairs, we are proposing the following revision to the amendment of Committee on Transport and Tourism.

 

“Whenever carrying checked wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices, the air carrier and its agents shall make aware and offer each person with special needs the option to make, free of charge, a special declaration of interest pursuant to Article 22(2) of the Montreal Convention, at booking and at the latest when the equipment is handed to the carrier. A model form for such declaration of interest is set out in Annex 2b to this Regulation.”

 

The full list of 22 amendments proposed by our organization will be published after its formal submission to DG MOVE and the European Parliament.

 

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Reduced Mobility Rights Limited
Registered in England and Wales.
Company No : 07748812
2 Woodberry Grove, London, N12 0DR
Phone: +44.(0)7786.993741
 

 

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