Draft of Civil Aviation Bill Fails to Protect the Rights of Disabled Passengers
- Written by Roberto Castiglioni
Despite numerous reassurances from The CAA and the Department for Transport, the draft of Civil Aviation Bill fails to identify and defend the rights of disabled passengers.
The draft Civil Aviation Bill leaves the United Kingdom, host nation of the Paralympics 2012, trailing behind most EU states and the United States of America. The draft Civil Aviation Bill fails to comply with EU Regulation 1107/2006, Article 16.
The regulation, in effect from 26 July 2008, calls member states to lay down rules on penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation.
The Republic of Ireland was one of the first member states to comply on 25 July 2008 (S.I. No. 299 of 2008), making the EU Regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air enforceable in its territory.
Italy, whose politicians are the laughing-stock of Europe's lawmakers, introduced sanctions foreseen in EU 1107/2006 in February 2009 (DL 24 febbraio 2009, n. 24).
Despite reassurances directly received from Dame Deirdre Hutton, CBE, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority that the draft of Civil Aviation Bill would bring the UK up to speed with other EU member states, this is not the case.
"The UK Government strongly supports the introduction of these new rights to ensure disabled passengers have equal access to air transport," Sabina Ali, DfT Aviation Accessibility Policy Advisor said.
The reality is that the Draft Civil Aviation Bill does not mention EU 1107/2006, does not lay down rules on penalties applicable to infringements specific to the Regulation, and fails to identify and describe all measures to ensure that those rules are enforceable.
As a result, EU 1107/2006 is unenforceable in a civil court of law, leaving disabled passengers arriving or departing from the UK without legal protection against degradation and discrimination.
Ironically, disabled passengers are without protection and recourse under the watch of the UK PM David Cameron, a person with personal knowledge of the challenges disabled children and adult face in their everyday life.
I think this situation is intolerable and cannot be accepted. As Reduced Mobility Rights, I am submitting written evidence in this regard to Mrs Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee, currently engaged reviewing the Draft of Civil Aviation Bill.
I urge everyone wishing to help introduce this change to the UK legislation to contact me, to create a synergic effort with the final goal of protecting the most vulnerable among us against discrimination.