Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sensitization Meeting for Airliners at DGCA Office 20.03.2012

Dear colleagues,

DG Mr. EK Bharat Bhushan chairing the meeting
Today i.e. on 20 March 2012, E K Bharat Bhushan, Director General, Civil Aviation chaired a Disability Sensitization Meeting and ensured that senior officials from all airlines were present at 3 PM in his office. This showed the seriousness on the part of the DG to immediately contain the growing incidences on discrimination and harassment to persons with disabilities during flying.  During this meeting a presentation on the needs of different disabilities was made by a group of persons with disabilities /activists from the disability sector at the request of the civil aviation regulator. The team from disability sector included Mohammed Asif Iqbal (PWC), Jeeja Ghosh (IICP), Rahul Cherian (Inclusive planet), Subhash Chandra Vashishth and Abha Negi (Svayam). 

Jeeja Ghosh and Asif Iqbal talking about common 
myths about disabled
The objective of this sensitization exercise was to ensure that the airliners understand the specific needs of different categories of persons with disabilities while traveling by air and also the legal obligations on the part of airlines as per the DGCA's CAR on carriage of persons with disabilities and that such incidents are not repeated in future. Mr. Rahul Cherian cautioned the airlines that violation of CAR invites heavy penalties and six months imprisonment hence, deviations should be immediately checked.

DG E K Bharat Bhushan who sat through the entire meeting, despite his busy schedule said, "In view of growing concerns experienced by physically disabled persons while travelling by air, we held an interactive session with scheduled domestic airlines."  

He also clarified to the airliners that any such incident will not be tolerated in future.The following decisions were taken in the meeting  :

(a) In next seven days, DGCA will collate a list of DO's and DON'Ts (received from the disability sector) in dealing with persons with disabilities/ reduced mobility and forward them to the domestic airlines who will have to display them on their website within three days of receiving it.
(b) An independent  link/button displaying instructions/provisions of assistance to disabled with Do's and Don't would be provided on the home page of the website of all the scheduled airlines.
Attendees at the meeting from different airlines
(c) All airlines will organize an orientation programme of all airport managers regarding their  responsibility while handling people with reduced mobility who are travelling by air, who in turn will sensitize the ground staff within a given time frame. 
(d) DGCA' s CAR for handling passengers with reduced mobility already exist and should be followed by all concerned in letter and spirit.
Reps from Kingfisher and Indigo
(e) It was brought out during the meeting that a large responsibility of providing assistance at the airport was of the aerodrome operators who were not represented in the meeting and the airlines could only assist while the persons with disabilities reached them or in the aircraft. It was decided that seperate instructions will also be issued for airport operators on handling persons with reduced mobility.


NEW DELHI: In another 10 days, domestic airlines will have to display a list of dos and don'ts on their websites for handling passengers with reduced mobility. 

DGCA Team at the meeting
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the chief of the directorate general of civil aviation. At the meeting, people with reduced mobility - who allegedly faced harassment at the hands of domestic airlines in the past few months - met senior officials of the airlines concerned on Tuesday to explain the difficulties they face. 

DG E K Bharat Bhushan said, "In view of growing concerns experienced by physically disabled persons while travelling by air, we held an interactive session with scheduled domestic airlines." 

"In the meeting, we have decided to prepare a detailed list of dos and don'ts in the next seven days for handling people with reduced mobility travelling by air. Scheduled domestic airlines shall display these on their respective website," Bhushan said. 

Representatives from airlines and disability sector
Other decisions taken at the meeting included the creation of a separate button on the web home page of airlines to display the instructions in this regard. 

"Airlines will organize an orientation programme of all airport managers regarding their responsibility while handling people with reduced mobility who are travelling by air, who in turn will sensitize the ground staff. Civil aviation rules for handling passengers with reduced mobility already exist and should be followed by all concerned in letter and spirit," said a senior official. 

Separate instructions are also to be issued for airport operators on handling people with reduced mobility. 

A presentation on the requirements of disabled people was made at the meeting by Mohammed Asif Iqbal who is blind. Iqbal was denied a boarding pass - due to his disability - by Kingfisher Airlines last year when he was to flying from Patna to Ranchi. 

"It is obvious the government is taking the matter seriously. Senior airline staff of all domestic airlines was present and through our presentation we highlighted the various needs of people with different disabilities. The meeting was attended by over 50 people of which around 5 to 7 represented disability rights groups," said Iqbal.

1 comment:

Daniel cohen said...

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meeting people,