Explained: What are the new interim guidelines to make air travel easier for people with disabilities?

In an effort to make air travel easier for people with disabilities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday released a list of “draft accessibility standards and guidelines.” These guidelines set out certain dos and don’ts for airlines and airport operators to follow in order to minimize the obstacles faced by people with disabilities during their journey.

Inviting comments and suggestions for improvement, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has given the public three weeks, after which the final list of guidelines will be released.

We are looking at some of the guidelines offered by the Union Ministry.

But first, why did the Ministry of Civil Aviation come up with these guidelines in the first place?

These draft guidelines come nearly a week after the actor and dancer Sudha Chandran took to social media to share the ordeal she faced at the airport, where she was asked to remove her prosthesis every time she went through security. She called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a card to people wearing prostheses so that they can avoid “grilling” at airports by security agencies.

“Good evening, it is a very personal note that I want to say to our dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, it is an appeal to the central government, I am Sudhaa Chandran, actress and dancer by profession, who danced with an artificial limb and created history and made my country very proud of me, ”she said in her post.

“Every time I make my professional visits, every time, I am stopped at the airport and when I ask security, the CISF agents who please do an ETD (Explosive Trace Detector) for my artificial limb, they still want me to remove my artificial limb and show it to them. Is this humanly possible, Modi ji? Is this what our country is talking about? Is it the respect that a woman gives to another woman in our society? she asked.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has since apologized on social media. They promised that they would look into the matter and “examine why the relevant staff lady asked Ms. Sudhaa Chandran to remove the prostheses.”

What policies are proposed by the government?

According to the draft guidelines, airport operators must now take steps to ensure that persons with special needs are screened in a manner which keeps “the dignity and privacy of the passenger in mind” .

When checking prostheses, airport security may use x-ray detection devices, explosive traces or visual checks depending on their needs, the guidelines said.

But to ensure their privacy, a disabled passenger, who has a prosthetic limb, will first be asked to go through the door frame metal detector, then escorted to a private checkpoint, where they will be forced to go through the door frame. to sit comfortably.

“A prosthetic device which does not have a foam padding cover under which any weapon or explosive can be concealed and in which the steel rod of the device is clearly visible can be examined by visual inspection and ETD checks only, without removing it, “state guidelines.

It is only in rare cases, where security personnel find a thorough screening an absolute requirement, that these passengers will be asked to remove their prostheses for the x-ray screening. In these situations, however, they will be required to remove their prostheses for the x-ray screening. record why they believe screening cannot be avoided.

Passengers with external devices, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, spinal stimulators, bone growth stimulators, and ostomies, will need to disconnect these devices prior to x-ray screening. In most cases, a passenger can do a self-tapping of these devices, followed by an ETD check with his hands, the guidelines list added.

Approximately 48 hours before their scheduled departure, passengers with disabilities should inform the airline of their needs so that the carrier can make the necessary arrangements.

For passengers who need to check in their wheelchairs, the airline should ensure that the wheelchair is sent to the baggage handling area with a service partner to prevent damage, he noted.

“Airlines should ensure that disability awareness training is provided to new recruits and ensure that periodic refresher courses are organized for all staff to reiterate policies and standard operating procedures on assistance to staff. customers with different types of disabilities, ”he said.

Coaches for transporting passengers to and from airplanes must also be suitable for wheelchairs. Low-floor cars or ramps should be used for comfortable boarding or exclusion of wheelchair users.

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