Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Green MEP says Easyjet incident with Dr. Sabry not acceptable

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier post on Easyjet's appalling behaviour with businessman Dr Martin Sabry earlier in January this year. After boarding the wheelchair user Dr. Sabry was humiliated by the flight purser  by asking him to read aloud the safety card in front of other passengers and say "I can" after each sentence. And then the purser told squarely that they will not take him!

Reacting sharply on the incident Green MEP Keith Taylor slammed the budget carrier stating that the incident was unacceptable. His report is although non-legislative, but will become the official position of the Parliament.

However, we see a similar kind of pattern emerging from a series of such cases whether Easyjet (France) or in Spicejet (India)! Even in Jeeja's Case, the reply of the Hon'ble Indian Minister of Civil Aviation has been same where airliner seem to have escaped with just a public apology!

This is absolutely not acceptable by any norms.. neither in India nor in any part of the world. Exemplary punitive action and economic penalties are only solutions that the airliners respect the basic human rights and raise their awareness on these issues if need be. You can't escape by saying that the staff was not sensitized or that the staff has been sacked.

Here is the report from Reduced Mobility Rights

Easyjet Incident With Disabled Dr. Sabry Unacceptable, Green MEP says

Published on Friday, 23 March 2012 11:25

Written by Roberto Castiglioni

Green MEP Keith Taylor slammed budget carrier Easyjet, stating that the incident involving disabled businessman Martin Sabry was unacceptable.

"Clearly, the Easyjet incident was unacceptable," Green MEP Keith Taylor told Reduced Mobility Rights.

"Paragraph 58 of my report which covers regulation 1107/2006 underlines the importance of appropriate training of flight crews to cover the ´different and individual needs of PRMs`," the European member of Parliament explained.

"In my capacity as a member of the Parliament's Transport and Tourism committee (TRAN), I met with  many stakeholders over a number of months, in order to inform the first draft of the report "on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air", which covers regulation 1107/2006," Green MEP Keith Taylor told Reduced Mobility Rights.

The report will be voted on next week in the European Parliament's plenary session. "I am confident that it will be adopted, Taylor said.

Although non-legislative, the report will become the official position of the Parliament.

Disabled businessman Martin Sabry, 39, from Cambridge, arrived at Gatwick airport on 4 January 2012 to catch the Easyjet flight to Montpellier, France.

After boarding the aircraft, Mr Sabry was harassed by the flight purser who had him removed from the airplane. "I was made to read safety-card aloud in front all other boarding passengers and say "I can" after each sentence," he says, remarking the unnecessary humiliation. "We will not take you," the purser told him.

"I am pleased to hear of the unreserved apology given to Dr Sabry," Keith Taylor said. "However, it is extremely regrettable to hear that due to lack of resources, the CAA will not be able to pursue this case further."

In the days following the incident, Carolyn McCall OBE, Easyjet's Chief Executive Officer, apologised in person to Martin Sabry. "Our chief executive Carolyn McCall called Dr Sabry directly to apologise," A spokesperson for Easyjet told Reduced Mobility Rights.

The budget airline received a verbal warning from the UK CAA. "In relation to the Dr Sabry’s situation, we have been in touch with EasyJet regarding the incident, to remind them of their obligations to people with reduced mobility," A CAA spokesperson said.

Despite the incident representing a clear violation of Regulation 1107/2006, there will be no enforcement of the law on Easyjet. The Department for Transport is trailing behind most EU states, having failed to provide the CAA a set of sanctions and adequate enforcement powers. "Unfortunately, [enforcement] powers are not very flexible or proportionate and make it difficult for us to take action," Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority said.

"I think that there needs to be better implementation by the National Enforcement Bodies of the rules that do exist," Keith Taylor said. "Paragraph 3 of my report acknowledged gaps in Member States' implementation and enforcement of Regulation 1107/2006. In subsequent paragraphs the report talks of the need for the Commission to work with NEBs in order to "promote a uniform and prompt enforcement of air passenger rights."

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