Civil Aviation Requirements for Passengers with Disabilities

Passengers with disabilities have faced much discrimination in the recent past. I have written an article on the same topic way back in 2012 highlighting some of the descriminations by airlines. Now it’s the turn of Airlines. Later in 2013 I have also shared the letter by NPRD to the civil aviation.

In the process of notifying my readers on the happenings on this front, I want to provide the provisions that are made by department of civil aviations in this article.

This Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) is issued under the provisions of Section 5(ab) of Aircraft Act 1934, Rule 133 A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and Ministry of Civil Aviation letter No. AV. 13030/72/2012-DT dated 6thMarch, 2013 for information, guidance and compliance by the concerned agencies.

As per the CAR, no airline provider should refuse to carry person with disability or reduced mobility. They should not refuse allowing the assistive aids/devices or guide dogs to carry with them. Of course the same information should be provided to the airline provider at the time of booking tickets or at least 48 hours prior to the travel to make the required arrangements. Airline providers should facilitate the functionality on their website to allow the user to select the special arrangement they may need during the journey.

Airline providers or their travel agents shall not discriminate people with disabilities in providing the facilities for internet booking, special/ discounted fares, time limit for holding the bookings, reservations on telephone etc.

It shall be the responsibility of the person with disability or reduced mobility to inform the airline provider on their needs at least 48 hours prior to the journey to make the necessary arrangements.

The airline provider should be able to make the necessary arrangements to have smooth journey from departing terminal to the aircraft and aircraft to the arrival terminal without any additional expense.

Passengers who intend to check-in with their own wheelchair shall be given the option of using a station/airport wheelchair. If the passengers prefer to use their own wheelchair, they shall be permitted to use it provided the wheelchair conforms to specifications as laid down by Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), UK.

Airlines shall develop procedures for carriage of guide dogs, if required in cabin, for the assistance of persons with disability or reduced mobility. The guide dogs may be permitted in the cabin subject to the condition that they are properly trained, remain on floor at the passenger’s feet, properly harnessed and vaccinated. Passengers carrying guide dogs shall be required to produce a written proof to the airlines that their guide dog has been trained from appropriate institution, vaccinated and medicated.

It shall be the responsibility of the cabin crew in-charge to brief persons with disability or reduced mobility including their escorts, if any, before take-off on the emergency procedures, cabin layout and specialized equipment on board the aircraft to cater for their needs. Blind passengers shall be briefed verbally. Braille brochures may be provided as a back-up of such briefing. Instructions in large print may also be made available for persons with low vision.

Airlines shall make suitable arrangements for assisting persons with disability or reduced mobility for their quick clearance and baggage delivery. For the purpose of this paragraph, their checked-in baggage should be given ‘Special Tags’ to ensure early identification and assistance by the airline ground staff.

Airlines shall not insist on medical certificate or special forms from persons with disability or reduced mobility who wish to travel without an escort and only require special assistance at an airport for embarking/disembarking and a reasonable accommodation in flight.

Before refusing carriage to any person on the basis of disability, the airline shall specify in writing the basis of such refusal indicating its opinion that transportation of such persons would or might be inimical to the safety of flight.

The above are few requirements that the civil aviations department have laid for a smooth and safe flight experience of people with disabilities. For a complete list of CAR Airline specific requirements, Airport operator specific requirements, Training requirements, General requirements etc or to know who is a person with disability, person with reduced mobility or incapacitated passenger have a look at the Civil Aviation Requirement document (PDF).