Ministers float new measures aimed at making air travel more accessible

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The government is considering a raft of new measures which could be brought in to improve air travel for disabled travellers.

The changes could include making space for wheelchairs on planes and installing disabled toilets in cabins.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) proposals are part of the government’s drive to make flying a better experience for disabled passengers and follow recent widely-publicised cases where customers’ wheelchairs had been lost or damaged at UK airports.

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Aviation minister Baroness Sugg told the BBC: “We have to do everything possible to ensure passengers are put at the very heart of our aviation industry and the flying experience is a positive one for everyone boarding a plane.”

Lucy Webster, who writes for the BBC and is a wheelchair-user herself, said that as a user she has experienced ‘many problems’ with airlines and her equipment.

She added: “I cannot go to the toilet on the plane as I need a personal assistant to help me and the cubicles are too small, so I have not taken a long-haul flight since I stopped travelling with my parents.”

The government is set to publish its aviation strategy early next year and if the measures come to fruition, would build on a recent drive to improve accessibility across UK airports.

Last year Heathrow and Manchester airports were rated as two of the worst for disabled access by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which told airport operators to immediately improve services and facilities for disabled passengers.

Two months later, UK airports and airline operators were given clearer guidelines on how they must work to ensure disabled and elderly passengers are able to access services and make hassle-free journeys.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) outlined the initiatives it is making to ensure airports make themselves accessible.

 

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