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New system takes flight to ‘revolutionise’ air travel for disabled passengers

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A new system promising to ‘revolutionise’ air travel for disabled passenger has been announced, which would allow powered wheelchair users to remain in their own wheelchairs for the duration of a flight.

Three companies, PriestmanGoode, Flying Disabled and SWS Certification have unveiled Air 4 All, a new system that allows wheelchair users to travel in their own wheelchair on board a commercial aircraft without reducing the seat count for airlines.

Air 4 All works in a similar way to ISOFIX /LATCH standards in passenger cars.

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Both the airline seats and wheelchairs facilitate an installation and attachment system, enabling them to be securely installed in the aircraft cabin.

The system is designed so that different powered wheelchair types can be certified for flying and will be able to interface with a wide range of airline seats. If no wheelchairs require access, the seats function as regular airline seats.

Paul Priestman, designer and chairman of PriestmanGoode says: “Air 4 All will usher in a step change in the industry and finally offer equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers. The biggest barrier in the past has been that giving greater space to passengers in wheelchairs would have reduced seat count and resulted in a loss of revenue for airlines. Air 4 All solves this problem and has the added benefit of enabling airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat, ensuring brand consistency and a cohesive brand experience for all passengers. 

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Enable people in powered wheelchairs to have equal access to a safe, comfortable and dignified air travel experience as every other passenger
  • Drive practical improvements to the aircraft cabin and overall aviation transport experience for severely disabled people, resulting in greater independence, dignity and freedom of travel
  • To disrupt the air travel industry and create a new standard for the provision of accessible air travel

The consortium will be working alongside Sunrise Medical to establish those powerchairs that would be fit to fly, as well as to retrofit and create new standards for powered wheelchairs.

A first prototype of the Air 4 All system is expected in December 2021. 

Tags : flightstravel
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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