Airlines ‘must open up dialogue on accessibility’

Emirates and IATA host event to discuss how airlines and airports can promote better accessibility for disabled passengers
Accessibility, Airport accessibility, Whill, Iata, Emirates

Airlines are seeking to establish a better dialogue between industry, advocacy groups and passengers to increase accessibility to air travel for disabled people.   

That’s according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which ran its inaugural Global Accessibility Symposium recently.

Hosted by Emirates in Dubai, the symposium was attended by airlines, regulators and accessibility advocacy groups.

Linda Ristagno, external affairs manager at IATA, said: “This event showed that collaboration and feedback are crucial. Through this gathering and other initiatives, airlines are seeking to establish a better dialogue between industry, advocacy groups and passengers themselves.

“While the industry has had standards for persons traveling with disabilities for some time, we realise there are still gaps and we need to do more. We’re excited to be on this journey to make air travel more accessible and inclusive.”

In addition to speakers from airlines including British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates and WestJet, presenters came from a wide variety of backgrounds including regulatory bodies.

These included the UK’s CAA, Canadian Transport Agency and Brazilian Ministry of Infrastructure. It was also attended by industry partners including dnata and Heathrow Airport. Presentations were given by representatives from Apple and Microsoft showing the importance of inclusive design and technological innovation.

Ristagno added: “It is a step in the right direction, but the work isn’t done. We will continue to facilitate the discussion and refine the industry strategy from here.

“However, we need governments to help by developing harmonized regulations, in consultation with industry and accessibility groups, that provide clarity and global consistency. Working together will help ensure a safe, reliable and dignified experience that we owe to these passengers.”

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