Three key organizations in the representation of persons with disabilities across Europe, the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Passengers Federation (EPF), and AGE Platform Europe (AGE), have made a renewed appeal to the European Commissioner for Transport, to reopen the revision of Regulation 1107/2006, aiming to enhance the rights of individuals with disabilities and reduced mobility when traveling by air.
Regulation 1107/2006, adopted by the European Parliament on July 5, 2006, currently provides a broad remit of guidelines for the protection as well as the assistance of disabled people and persons with reduced mobility during air travel and is primarily intended to determine the duties and rights of these individuals.
The advocating organizations sent a letter to European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, stating, “air travel remains the most challenging mode of transport for persons with disabilities, resulting in frequent human rights violations. Compared to other forms of transportation governed by EU laws, the current regulation protecting the rights of air passengers falls short, particularly in holding airlines and companies accountable for passengers with disabilities.”
These organizations propose several key amendments to the regulation, including:
- Eradicating all cases of denial of boarding due to disability or reduced mobility.
- Introducing a right to swift and fair compensation if an air carrier still denies boarding.
- Providing an extra ticket free of charge for passengers who are required to travel accompanied due to their disability.
- Ensuring quality assistance in the airport and on the plane for disabled passengers
Another proposed change includes establishing the airlines’ full liability for damaged or lost mobility equipment, which is often very expensive and, under the current regulation, is only classified as luggage.
The existing regulation has been criticized by the Reduced Mobility Rights Limited for its separation of roles between the managing body of the airport and the air carrier, which has often left disabled passengers unprotected due to overlapping responsibilities, and authorities.