European rules make sure disabled people receive free help at airports but most consumers do not know who pays for these services.
Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled people travelling by air states that support given by airports and airlines must be free. The rule says assistance “should be financed in such a way as to spread the burden among all passengers using an airport.”
Each airport calculates a passenger with reduced mobility (PRM) charge that is than included in the airport tax. Airport tax is then added to the total cost of every ticket airlines sell. With rare exceptions, PRM charges apply to departing passengers only.
Reduced Mobility Rights reviewed PRM charges of airports across Europe. Our data also shows the airport’s total passenger traffic in 2013.
Europe’s largest airport in passenger traffic (72,367,054), London Heathrow airport calculates PRM charges in a way to encourage airlines let the airport know of requests for assistance at least 30 hours before departure.
Airlines with more than 65 per cent pre-notification more than 30 hours before the flight pay GBP 0.55/Euro 0.70; between 50 and 64.99 per cent GBP 1.24/Euro 1.56; less than 50 per cent GBP 2.55/Euro 3.22.
Heathrow’s PRM charge formula gives a one-tier discount to airlines whose number of passengers with reduced mobility is less than one per cent of the total number of passengers.
An airline with 60 per cent pre-notification (second tier GBP 1.24/Euro 1.56) and less than one per cent passengers with disabilities would qualify to pay GBP 0.55/Euro 0.70.
Heathrow said the cost of PRM service in 2013 has been fully recovered.
London’s second largest airport, Gatwick (35,444,206 passenger in 2013) also uses a pre-notification performance based tier system for PRM charges. Airlines giving pre-notification more than 24 hours before the flight are charged GBP 0.23/Euro 0.29; less than 24 but over two hours GBP 0.38/ Euro 0.48; airlines giving less than two hours pre-notification are charged GBP 0.80/Euro 1.
The UK’s third largest airport in passenger traffic, Manchester (20,751,581 passenger in 2013) uses yet a different formula. The airport charges GBP 0.15/Euro 0.19 for all arriving passengers and GBP 0.30/ Euro 0.39 for all departing passengers.
Amsterdam Schiphol airport (52,569,250) applies a single PRM charge of Euro 0.38/GBP 0.30. The Dutch airport is undergoing major Terminal renovations which include a brand new state-of-the-art PRM lounge.
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (62,052,917 passengers in 2013) applies all departing passengers a PRM charge of Euro 0.71/GBP 0.56. Charles de Gaulle is the only European airport employing a different service provider per terminal. There are three separate companies helping passengers with disabilities at CDG.
Germany’s second largest airport, Munich (38,672,644 passengers in 2013) applies a PRM charge of Euro 0.29/GBP 0.23. One of Munich’s signature features is the state-of-the-art changing facility for adults with special needs and severe mobility limitations.
In Spain, all airports are under the authority of state-owned AENA. The total number of passenger in Spain’s airports in 2013 was 187.400.000. Spain’s PRM charge is Euro 0.61/GBP 0.48.
Italy’s largest airport in passenger traffic, Rome Fiumicino (36,166,345 passenger in 2013) applies a PRM charge of Euro 0.90/GBP 0.71.
Ireland’s largest airport, Dublin (20,200,000 passengers in 2013) charges Euro 0.47/GBP 0.37. Dublin Airport is Europe’s first airport to offer a dedicated page on its website to help parents and carers prepare their journey ahead of getting to the airport. Dublin set the new European benchmark for passengers with Autism (ASD), helping them make the flying experience a seamless one.
Looking east, Warsaw Chopin airport (10,683,402 passengers in 2013) applies a PRM charge of PLN 0.76/GBP 0.14/Euro 0.18. To the west, Lisbon airport (16,008,848 passengers in 2013) charges Euro 0.50/GBP 0.395.
In northern Europe, Copenhagen airport (24,067,030 passengers in 2013) applies a PRM charge of DKK 4.59/GBP 0.49/Euro 0.62. Further north, Stockholm airport (20,681,554 passengers in 2013) charges SEK 2.8 GBP 0.24/Euro 0.30.
In central Europe, Zurich airport (24,865,138 passengers in 2013) applies a PRM charge of CHF 0.90/GBP 0.59 /Euro 0.75. Home to Europe’s legislative power, Brussels airport (19,133,222 passengers in 2013) charges Euro 0.43/GBP 0.34.