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No airline can refuse to fly differently-abled people: Govt

Heeding to years of pleas and protests by differently-abled people, government has finally come out with detailed rules governing their air travel by making it clear that no airline would refuse to fly them.

Airlines and airports have been asked to provide all required facilities and assistance to meet the needs of the disabled and make them public through their websites within three months from now, official sources said.

The rules also make it compulsory for the airlines and airports to provide necessary training to their staff to assist such passengers.

The airlines have been asked to make provisions for guide dogs accompanying persons with disabilities “subject to the condition that they are properly trained, remain on floor at the passenger’s feet, properly harnessed and vaccinated”.

In a new Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), aviation regulator DGCAhas also asked airlines not to insist on medical certificates or special forms from such persons who wish to travel without an escort.

Such certificates should be sought only when such a traveller has some disease or there is a possibility of aggravation of medical condition during flight, among other things, the CAR says.

“No airline shall refuse to carry persons with disability or reduced mobility and their assistive aids/devices, escorts and guide dogs including their presence in the cabin, provided such persons or their representatives, at the time of booking, inform the airline of their requirement(s),” it said.

Apart from giving information on the facilities required by such a passenger during ticket booking, the concerned traveller would have to again inform the airline 48 hours before the flight about his or her specific nature and level of special assistance required while embarking, disembarking and in-flight.

The detailed CAR, however, also says the do’s and don’ts for airlines and airports given in it was “not an exhaustive list”, indicating it could be evolved over time.

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