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Boylan welcomes EU Equality rules for disabled on airlines

8 August, 2008 - by Cathal Boylan

Sinn Féin MLA for Newry and Armagh, Cathal Boylan, has welcomed new EU rules designed to make it easier for people with disabilities and the elderly to access air travel which came into force at the end of July.

"The phasing in of these rules will put an end to discrimination and give disabled and elderly passengers the help they need when travelling," said Cathal.

"Under the new rules, passengers will be entitled to equal treatment, the provision of free assistance in all EU airports and assistance on board the flight. For flights from airports in the EU and for flights from third world countries to an airport in a Member State, if the carrier is European then the regulation prohibits airlines and tour operators from refusing to take bookings from passengers, or refuse to carry them, because of disability or reduced mobility.'

"The only restrictions allowed are on safety grounds, and these will have to be substantiated by national or international regulations, or if it is technically impossible to carry such passengers, for example if the plane is too small. This should put an end to - the generally unintended - discrimination seen up to now. EU member states will be required to set up enforcement bodies responsible for ensuring that the new rules are applied. About a third of the EU's population suffer from reduced mobility, I welcome this move by the EU to address their concerns." ENDS

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