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04 December 2014 09:32
The new rules strengthen the rights of disabled air passengers
New rules which came into effect this week will strengthen the rights of disabled air passengers.
The Civil Aviation (Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility) Regulations 2014 bring UK law in line with EU rules which say that all disabled passengers have the right to special assistance.
Over the past three months, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been working with a number of airports and airlines to ensure information about special assistance contains more details and can be found more easily on their websites.
The new regulations give the CAA power to force companies to comply with these special assistance requirements.
Mark Harper, the minister for disabled people, said the move made "good business sense", as disabled people in the UK and their families have a spending power of more than £200 billion.
Iain Osborne, the CAA's regulatory policy director, added the new powers will help to improve and enhance "the passenger experience" for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.
He said it is essential that these passengers have easy access to high-quality special assistance information, for example on travelling with a pre-existing medical condition.
Mr Osborne said the CAA had looked at a number of airline and airport websites, adding that the information was often hard to find or lacking in detail.
He said working with the aviation industry over several weeks has helped to make sure the information is presented much more clearly and "just one click" from the homepage.
Mr Osborne said he was happy to note that the majority of airlines and airports have made these improvements and are now displaying the updated information on their websites.
The CAA will work with those companies which have not yet updated their websites to ensure they comply fully with the new rules, he added.
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