The need for training and the training requirements for staff working in this sector are well defined by legislation with regard to disabled people and persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) when travelling by air.
The European Regulation 1107/2006 (link to doc.) (hereafter EUR 1107) of the 5th of July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. It entered into force in August 2006 and applied with effect from the 26th of July 2008.
The purpose of this Regulation is to establish rules for the protection and the provision of assistance to PRMs travelling by air – both to protect them against discrimination and to ensure that they receive assistance.
Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility are entitled to receive assistance free of charge in airports and on board aircrafts.
Airports in the European Union may levy a specific charge on airport users for the purpose of funding the assistance at the airport. This means that – based on the principle of solidarity – each passenger is paying a very small amount as part of the price of a ticket. The airline has to pay this charge to the airport which has to earmark it for all costs in relation to the assistance to PRMs.
The assistance should meet the particular needs of all disabled people and people with reduced mobility. This requires special knowledge and skills (for example with regard to the legal framework, disability-awareness and disability-equality, special equipment and specifics in relation to the job concerned). Therefore all staff in contact with passengers should receive initial and refresher training in order to provide consistently high quality service.
Interpretative Guidelines on the application of the European Regulation 1107/2006 of the the European Commission, published on the 14th of June 2012 (link to doc.).
The Guidelines cover 22 areas in which problems often arise on access to air travel, and are written in the form of answers to the most frequently asked questions on the Regulation. These questions were raised by National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs), from passenger complaints, as well as following discussions with organisations representing disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, older people and with airport and air carrier organisations.
On training the Guidelines refer to art. 11 of Regulation 1107/2006 and to ECAC DOC 30, Part I, section 5, in particular to Annex 5-G.
The Guidelines will help facilitate air travel for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility and so assist air carriers and airports to improve the application of the Regulation.
EUR 1107 also mentions that in organising the provision of the assistance, airports and air carriers should have regard to:
Document 30 of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), Part I, Section 5, 11th edition December 2009 (link to doc) and its associated annexes (hereafter DOC 30) (updated version December 2016).
Relevant annexes with regard to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility are:
- Annex 5-A: Guidance leaflet for Persons with Reduced Mobility who may be infrequent, or first time, flyers
- Annex 5-B: Specialist Guidance material for security staff – key points for PRMs
- Annex 5-C: Code of Good Conduct in Ground Handling for Persons with Reduced Mobility
- Annex 5-D: Guidelines on Ground Handling for Persons with Reduced Mobility (minimum standards of services and equipment; staff training)
- Annex 5-E: Guidelines on awareness and disability equality for all airport and airline personnel dealing with the travelling public
- Annex 5-F: Advisory note on the carrying disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility
- Annex 5-G: Training
- Annex 5-H: Guidance on pre-notification of disabled passengers and PRMs
- Annex 5-I: US Air Carrier Access Act Regulation (14 CFR PART 382) and EU Regulation 1107/2006: Compatibility and Potential Conflict
- Annex 5-J: Guidelines on websites’s information for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (PRMs).
The document provides rules and guidelines on good practice based on the requirements of EUR 1107.
Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) – Department of Transportation of the USA.
14 CRF Part 382, Final Rule of May 13, 2008 “Non-discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” (link to doc)
This Rule applies to:
- all US carriers for flights anywhere in the world,
- all code share flights with US carriers anywhere in the world when booked with a US carrier,
- to foreign carriers for flights that begin or end at aUS airport and for aircrafts used on those flights.
It stipulates very strict training requirements. The Rule took effect on the 13th of May 2009.
Technical Assistance Manual on Non Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
The US Department of Transportation is updating its technical assistance manual (TAM) for airlines and passengers with disabilities concerning their rights and responsibilities under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and its implementing regulation. The draft was published in the Federal Register on 5th July and comments on it are invited by 3rd October 2012.
This updated draft manual does not expand U.S. or non-US air carriers’ legal obligations or establish new requirements under the law. The primary purpose of the manual is to help employees and contractors of airlines to assist passengers with disabilities in accordance with the law. Another purpose is to give air travellers with disabilities information about their rights under the ACAA and the provisions of Part 382.
The draft can be found at:
ICAO Doc 9984 ‘Manual on Access to Air Transport by Persons with Disabilities’ (link to doc.), published in March 2013.
This new manual gives guidance on services and facilities to meet the needs of disabled people and PRMs travelling by air. Chapter 2 of the manual deals with training requirements. The document was drawn up by the Working Group on Persons with Disabilities and builds on the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) in ICAO Annex 9 to the the Convention on Civil Aviation Facilitation.