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Dundee LibDem Convener welcomes new rights for disabled air passengers

December 15, 2005 10:45 PM
Disabled access sign

Dundee LibDems welcome new rights for disabled air passengers

Dundee Liberal Democrat Local Party Convener, Raymond Lawrie, has today welcomed news that the European Parliament has adopted a new Regulation giving disabled air passengers new rights when travelling by air, aimed to ensure that recent cases of airlines refusing to carry such passengers because of their disability are a thing of the past.

This follows recent news that Glasgow airport is to build an animal reception centre, needed to allow animals to enter the country without facing lengthy quarantine periods, following pressure from Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP, Elspeth Attwooll, and one of her visually impaired constituents who faced financial and practical difficulties when travelling by air. As the only airports with these reception centres are in England, he was unable to fly direct to Glasgow.

Under the new legislation, airports and airlines will have to assist disabled passengers and others with restricted mobility throughout the travel process from arrival at the initial airport to leaving the destination airport. This includes permitting the travel of guide dogs and hearing dogs, provision of wheelchairs or any other appropriate physical aids including lifts. In all cases, the passenger should notify the airline, tour operator or travel agent at least 48 hours beforehand of his/her needs.

Elspeth Attwooll commented, "I have been shocked by recent news of disabled air passengers being denied boarding simply because of their disability. This new regulation will put an end to that, and it builds on the commitment made by Glasgow airport to provide an animal reception facility.

"I find it distressing that those travelling with guide or hearing dogs cannot fly direct from the continent to Scotland. The difficulties and penalties they face is discrimination by any other name."

Raymond Lawrie has met and spoken to disabled people who been discriminated against by airline companies, and of the way they have often been treated when trying to resolve the problem.

"Unfortunately it seems that EU legislation is now the only way to fight this discrimination. The priority now is to make the legislation work," said Raymond.