Interpretation of certain articles of EU 1107/2006 remains subjective and discretionary; Hence, clarifications emanating from the EU Commission are appropriate.
The following is a list of suggestions made by Reduced Mobility Rights Editor-in-Chief Roberto Castiglioni. Suggestions are made from the user’s perspective, and are based on first-hand experience of traveling as a carer for a person with reduced mobility.
Article 1, Paragraph 2
The provisions of this Regulation shall apply to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, using or intending to use commercial passenger air services on departure from, on transit through, or on arrival at an airport, when the airport is situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies.
The paragraph does not properly define the non EU carrier responsibility when operating a flight departing from an airport located in an EU member state. In other words, I suggest clarification of the following:
1) Non EU carriers are subject to compliance when operating a flight originating from an EU airport. When do compliance requirement end? Is it correct to identify arrival of the aircraft to destination as point where compliance requirements end? Destination means final destination (when the flight number does not change) or at the completion of the first leg?
1) By example, British Airways operates flights from Sydney to London via Singapore or Bangkok. Does compliance being in Sydney or the intermediate airport?
Article 2, Paragraph a)
‘disabled person’ or ‘person with reduced mobility’ means any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or loco motor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers;
1) Are infants and toddlers, or all children requiring assistance by mean of mobility devices, persons with temporary reduced mobility? If yes, which restriction or limitations on assistance provided by airport managing bodies and carriers shall apply?
Article 4, Paragraph 3
An air carrier or its agent shall make publicly available, in accessible formats and in at least the same languages as the information made available to other passengers, the safety rules that it applies to the carriage of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, as well as any restrictions on their carriage or on that of mobility equipment due to the size of aircraft. A tour operator shall make such safety rules and restrictions available for flights included in package travel, package holidays and package tours which it organises, sells or offers for sale.
Paragraph 3 mentions restrictions on carriage of mobility equipment due to size of the aircraft. It is common knowledge certain budget airlines pose such restriction not because of the size of the aircraft, rather on weight of mobility devices because such weight or size requires special loaders which slow down turnaround times.
1) Restrictions on carriage of mobility devices shall not be placed on weight or size of said devices.
Article 5, Paragraph 2
The points of arrival and departure referred to in paragraph 1, shall be clearly signed and shall offer basic information about the airport, in accessible formats.
1) I believe said basic information shall include details of all services available within the airport to PRMs and other persons with disabilities, and contact details of the special services provider.
Article 6, Paragraph 1
Air carriers, their agents and tour operators shall take all measures necessary for the receipt, at all their points of sale in the territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies, including sale by telephone and via the Internet, of notifications of the need for assistance made by disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility
1) Minimum communication standards must be implemented, enabling assistance providers to be told if the passenger requesting assistance is a child or an adult, hence allowing the provider to ensure suitable assistance is provided.
2) A dedicated Air Imp must be created to warn ground handler when a passenger with reduced mobility is traveling with his/her own wheelchair, so that the mobility device can be immediately recognized and repatriated with the owner at the aircraft door.
1) Training of personnel must be mandatory. Qualification must be made publicly available to consumers, with clear details of which and when such training was undertaken by service providers.
Where wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices are lost or damaged whilst being handled at the airport or L 204/6 EN Official Journal of the European Union 26.7.2006 transported on board aircraft, the passenger to whom the equipment belongs shall be compensated, in accordance with rules of international, Community and national law.
1) A clear definition of which party (managing body or carrier) is responsible for compensation at each stage of the handling process is needed. Waiver of the Montreal Convention limits is required.
Article 15, Paragraph 1
A disabled person or person with reduced mobility who considers that this Regulation has been infringed may bring the matter to the attention of the managing body of the airport or to the attention of the air carrier concerned, as the case may be.
1) Airport Managing bodies and air carriers must set up dedicated complaint handling procedures. Passengers must be made aware of this option in easily accessible ways. Copy of all complaints received must be sent to the NEB for statistical purposes. Complaint handling must be timely, and not exceed 10 working days from receipt of the complaint.
If the disabled person or person with reduced mobility cannot obtain satisfaction in such way, complaints may be made to any body or bodies designated under Article 14(1), or to any other competent body designated by a Member State, about an alleged infringement of this Regulation.
2) NEBs must complete investigation of a complaint within 20 working days. NEBs must report all received complaints to the appropriate body within the EU Commission for statistical purposes.
1) Civil penalties such as fines must be adopted to ensure NEBs' swift enforcement of the Regulations when the case presents. The Commission shall define standards common to all Member States in respect of monetary value of civil penalties.