European Disability Forum - EDF - “Train the trainers” workshop on the implementation of the regulation on air passengers with disabilities

Brussels, March 31 to April 1, 2008

 On the 31st of March to the 1st of April, EDF organised together with the European Commission a workshop for EDF members on the regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of persons with disabilities when travelling by air. The aim of the workshop was to empower those representatives from the disability movement to take on an active role in the implementation of the regulation at national, regional and local level, and more specifically in the setting up and delivery of the training to airport and airline staff on disability equality and disability awareness, in defining the quality standards for assistance provision and in designing the points of arrival at an airport.  

The idea with the workshop was also to create a multiplier effect: the participants of the workshop are now supposed to empower other representatives of their organisations in taking on this same role in the implementation of the regulation, in order to make sure that informed representatives of the disability movement will be involved in the implementation of this important regulation at all airports across the EU.  

The workshop was attended by approximately 65 persons representing together 20 national disability councils. The workshop was chaired by Ms Ann Frye, chair of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) working group on persons with reduced mobility. Presentations were given by Commission, ECAC, airline and airport representatives and several EDF members.  

European Disability Forum – EDF -  endorsed conference on Air Passenger Rights for Persons with Disabilities

The UK conference company Waterfront arranged on the 2nd of April at the Hilton Hotel in Brussels a key conference on Air Passengers Rights for Persons with Disabilities, endorsed by the European Disability Forum among other organizations.  

Speakers included representatives from the European airlines, airports, service providers and disability organizations. Mr Samuel Podberesky from the US Department of transport also gave an American perspective on delivering civil rights to passengers with a disability.  

Bas Treffers, EDF Vice President, and Maria Nyman, EDF policy officer, spoke on behalf of EDF.  Rodolfo Cattani, EBU representative and member of EDF Executive Committee, was invited to present the views of EBU. 

The highlight of the event was the engaged closing speech by the vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Jacques Barrot, commissioner in charge of transport. In his speech he underlined that it is essential to brake down barriers to mobility. The vice-President further stated that he attaches great personal importance the subject of accessibility for persons with disabilities to transport and that he hopes that the regulation on the rights of disabled air passengers will be one of the highlights of his mandate as a commissioner; because without mobility European integration becomes meaningless. Mr Barrot also mentioned that he wishes to strengthen passenger rights to all modes of transport, and in particular the rights of passengers with disabilities.  

Mr Barrot concluded by saying that he will follow the implementation of the regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of passengers with disabilities with personal attention and that he will not hesitate to take action in case there would be infringements of the regulation. 

Source: European Disability Forum