Low cost airline easyjet announced it is to fit all its new A320 planes with Space-Flex 2 lavatory, a wheelchair accessible toilet.
All new Airbus A320 delivered after May 2016 will be featuring the wheelchair accessible lavatory. Airbus is the only aircraft manufacturer in the world to offer this inclusive option on single aisle planes.
The airline also announced plans to retrofit its existing 76 A320s with the Space-Flex 2 lavatory. The airline said the process should be completed by 2018.
The Space-Flex 2 lavatory allows two toilets, each of a size comparable with those existing in the A320 airplane, merge into one through a simple process of conversion.
Reallocating the two rear toilets at the back of the plane has more than one benefit. The redesigned cabin interior allows for six extra seats without compromising in space. It also allows for an enlarged galley area accommodating up to eight half-size trolleys.
The galley’s greater capacity for meal trays ensures the airline carry sufficient trays to serve both the outward and return flight, which is key to delivery consistency of service offering, and contributes to on-time departures by eliminating the need to restock supplies.
Easyjet is the second European operator to purchase the new cabin interior featuring wheelchair accessible lavatories. Last March Spanish low cost carrier Vueling was the first European airline to receive an Airbus A320 fitted with the Space-Flex lavatory.
The easyjet special assistance advisory group first discussed the Space-Flex option in the summer of 2013. “We were the ones to bring the then new concept to the attention of the group,” Reduced Mobility Rights director Roberto Castiglioni said. “By fitting fully accessible lavatories easyjet set a higher standard in access to air travel for all.”
Esaag was established to provide easyjet with strategic guidance and practical advice on the evolving needs of passengers with disabilities. Essag members review, discuss, challenge and seek to improve internal policies and procedures across the passenger's journey.
The group consists of well-respected independent experts and easyjet senior management. Reduced Mobility Rights director Roberto Castiglioni is a member of esaag and chairs the Airport Experience sub-group.
Last month esaag launched the Pan-European Charter on Meeting the Needs of Disabled Air Travellers at an event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The Charter addresses key issues like what can be done to tackle varying implementation of the rules across countries and what role can EU policymakers play to bridge the knowledge and information gap that still exists for passengers.
“Wherever you go and however you travel, you should be able to expect the same quality of service and the same supportive assistance in every setting," Esaag Chairman and former Home Secretary David Blunkett said. "That means a code which is easily understood, accessible and of course, enforceable. A ‘People’s Europe’ is one in which the European Union provides that backing and enforceable regulation and consumer rights. For those requiring special assistance, this is not a matter of convenience but of critical necessity.”