We continue the journey through Europe's Civil Aviation Authorities to see how Regulation 1107/2006, protecting the rights of the disabled traveling by air, is enforced.
"The Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 is applicable in Switzerland on the basis of the bilateral Air Transport Agreement Switzerland-EC (SR 0.7126.96.36.199; see no 7 „consumer protection“ in annex 1 to the Agreement)," says Eva Maria Temesvari, Head Passenger Rights of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA.
Swiss law says that airlines can be fined up to an amount of CHF 20’000 (£13,800/$21,500) if they frequently or severely infringe obligations deriving from international agreements (EU1107/2006).
Mrs Temesvari told Reduced Mobility Rights that there have been only five complaints about alleged infringements of the regulation, but no sanctions have been imposed to date.
With zero complaints on record, Finland appears to be a delight for disabled passengers traveling by air. Finland has not implemented sanctions to enforce the regulation. Despite that, the Finnish CAA is directly involved in promoting awareness of the rights of the disabled traveling by air.
"The Finnish CAA is in close contact together with airports and different associations of disabled people (PRM Working Group). The Finnish CAA also organizes national facilitation meetings on aviation (National Facilitation Working Group). In both these working groups, we discuss issues related to regulation EU 1107/2006,"Mari Saranpää of the Finnish CAA explained. "We promote awareness about the regulation to the passengers (e.g. flyers, electronic posters, internet pages, personal appearances). The Finnish CAA does regular inspection visits to the airports and during these visits we make sure these materials are available."
Austria also stands out as a dream destination for passengers with reduced mobility. "We have not received a single complaint," said Michael-C. Schmidt, manager of the Passengers Rights department of the Austrian Civil Aviation.
Despite the optimal situation, the Austrian CAA is prepared to enforce the regulation by mean of penalties. "Austrian law foresees penalties up to € 22.000 ($28,500/£18,400\)," Michael Schmidt explained.