Aiming at becoming a global player in the airline industry, Turkey flag carrier Turkish Airlines pledges to improve disabled passengers access to services.
Turkish Airlines operations management invited Reduced Mobility Rights to visit the airline's headquarters in Istanbul following the publication of an article highlighting problems with the carrier's access policies and services.
On 19 February, we sat down with management to review existing policies and services and discuss ways to improve disabled passengers' access.
Mr Mehmet Tayfur Dogan and Ms Sennur Tatli, Director and Supervisor of the airline's documentation division walked us through services and policies.
Turkey is not part of the European Union; therefore, the airline is not required to comply with Europe's Regulation 1107/2006 protecting the rights of disabled passengers traveling by air. However, Turkish Airlines must comply with U.S. legislation, CFR 14, Part 382, for its flights from and to the United States of America.
During the review, we praised Turkish Airlines for its on-board safety cards in Braille, an asset for visuallyimpaired passengers. The airline took note of a series of inconsistencies with information available on its website. "We have just started to update all the information about service for disabled passenger on the Turkish Airlines website," airline management told Reduced Mobility Rights in the days following our visit.
Another major problem, pre notification of access services requests, was discussed during the meeting. Reduced Mobility Rights' suggestion of test sessions in collaboration with selected EU airports to identify and remove the causes of this problem were welcomed by the airline. The tests will begin in the coming weeks, in cooperation with Munich International airport, and Milan Malpensa airport. The goal is to significantly improve the quality and timely availability of assistance passengers with reduced mobility experience upon arriving at EU airports.
Towards the end of the visit, we sat down with Mr Mehmet Buyukkaytan, Senior Vice President of Turkish Airlines Ground Operations.
"Since 1933, we strived to achieve unconditional customer satisfaction by committing to our core values, including respect to individuals, innovation, teamwork, confidentiality and non-discrimination," Mehmet Buyukkaytan told Reduced Mobility Rights. "During this journey to excellence, we have always focused on means to facilitate air travel for all individuals.
To this end, it is one of our priorities to eliminate all obstacles to offer a pleasant, barrier-free and comfortable flight to our disabled passengers.
We were named Europe’s best airline two years in a row in 2011 and 2012. Crowning our success with this prestigious award, we are committed to sustainable improvement as a global leader."
About the author
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Reduced Mobility Rights, Roberto Castiglioni is an expert consultant of PRM regulations, access services, and disabled passengers’ support procedures. He has personal experience as travelling partner of a passenger with reduced mobility.
Roberto is a member of the Disability Working Group of the Civil Aviation Authority. He is also a member of the Easyjet Special Assistance Advisory Group. Chaired by David Blunkett MP, the independent advisory group esaag provides Easyjet with strategic guidance and practical advice on the evolving needs of passengers requiring special assistance.