ACI Europe issues guidelines to help passengers with non-visible disabilities

1 in 4 adults in EU faces some form of disability
/ New Delhi
ACI Europe
ACI Europe issues guidelines to help passengers with non-visible disabilities

The development of this guidance reflects the growing importance of accessibility and inclusivity

Addressing the growing need to make travel more inclusive, Airports Council International Europe has released guidelines on how to support travellers with invisible disabilities, compiled with data from some of the leading airports worldwide.
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ACI Europe, the international council for airports, has released new guidelines on how to support travellers with invisible disabilities.

According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, one in four adults in the EU faces some form of disability. Of those conditions, nearly 80 pc are non-visible.

The tool “Assisting Passengers with Non-Visible Disabilities” helps airports understand various non-visible disabilities and the travel barriers they may present, says ACI Europe in a press statement. In addition, it facilitates handling sensitive passenger information to meet their needs and expectations, ensuring the best care during their journey.

ACI Europe says that by being more aware and adjusting their services, airports can guarantee equal rights for passengers with disabilities, aligning with the fundamental principles of EU law; free movement, freedom of choice, and non-discrimination.

Olivier Jankovec

Olivier Jankovec

The general director of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, emphasised the importance of ensuring accessibility for all passengers, stating that travel is a fundamental right. “Together, we can make air travel more inclusive, ensuring that every passenger’s journey is marked by dignity, respect, and equal access to the wonders of our world,” says Jankovec.

He adds that this document provides practical guidance to airport management and stakeholders on assisting passengers with non-visible disabilities compassionately and respectfully.

The statement adds that previously, travellers with such conditions have been grouped within the general category of passengers needing airport assistance and, as such, have been included in airport assistance services.

According to ACI, the development of this guidance reflects the growing importance of accessibility and inclusivity. “This calls for the needs and expectations of passengers to be met with utmost consideration, including more awareness for the non-visible conditions. Airports are taking proactive steps to address these needs,” says ACI Europe in its statement.

It adds that this guidance was produced by ACI Europe’s partner, the Facilitation and Customer Services Committee and contains comprehensive information on case studies from ACI Europe members and partner organisations. Airports and institutions that have contributed are Aena, Athens International Airport, Dublin Airport, London Gatwick Airport, ENAC and Manchester Airport.

ACI says that in June last year, representative organisations of passengers with disabilities asked the EU Commission to enhance air travel regulations. Meanwhile, a survey by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) launched on November 2023 unveiled that 80 pc of passengers needing special assistance are satisfied with air travel accessibility improvements.

Riga Airport of Latvia recently launched a special passenger security checkpoint for families with children up to seven years. In addition to this category, “Family of Honour” cardholders will also be granted such access. The Latvian authorities issue this card for families with many children or those with children with disabilities.

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