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DISABLED TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR BETTER EU AIR SERVICES


BRUSSELS(Reuters) - Rights campaigners say they will have to keep on fighting to improve the treatment of disabled people when flying in Europe, after a meeting with the European Union's top transport official yielded little progress.

"This is going to take years and years to break down the discrimination that persons with disabilities are facing every day," Stig Langvad, of the European Disability Forum EDF.L, said on Monday. EU officials met the campaigning group, representing roughly 80 million disabled Europeans, last week to discuss the difficulties facing passengers in wheelchairs when flying in the 27-member bloc.

But the EDF said it won little in the meeting with Siim Kallas, the EU transport commissioner. "Kallas was not really keen on looking into the perspective of how the implementation (of disability rights laws) is going," Langvad told Reuters. Airlines have been the target of a string of pending lawsuits over practices when dealing with disabled travellers.

But Langvad said there had been little progress in trying to make airlines apply existing passenger rights laws consistently throughout member states or ensure that equipment such as wheelchairs are handled properly by airport staff.

The EDF will continue lobbying the EU's transport directorate to regulate compliance with existing laws and improve airline staff training, Langvad said. The EU still plans to revise the existing guidelines to clarify in what circumstances passengers can be denied boarding, he added.

The transport directorate did not return calls or reply to emails asking for comment.

DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES

The meeting was called after complaints about several European airlines reached the European Commission, including one from the U.N.'s disability representative, who was prevented from boarding a European flight on Swiss International Airlines in April.

Ryanair (RYA.I) lost a lawsuit in Britain earlier this year in a case over a wheelchair-bound woman who was stuck on the runway when a requested hydraulic ambulance lift to raise her to the plane's door was not available. The woman's husband carried her onto the plane on his shoulders and the court found that employees gave no help.

Air Europa, EasyJet (EZJ.L) and Air Berlin (AB1.DE) have also been the subjects of recent complaints to the Commission.A 2006 EU law requires airports and airlines to board passengers with reduced mobility. However, an assessment from April found that compliance has been shaky at best.

Problems often occur when disabled passengers have already booked tickets and requested assistance or mobility equipment. They find the equipment does not arrive or is late, wheelchairs are mishandled or in some cases passengers are forbidden to board unless accompanied by a non-disabled person.

In many cases, problems arose because disabled passengers simply did not know their rights, it found.The European Commission said in April it would take a tougher stance on the issue, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso promised last month to hold the first "State of the Union of Disability" to discuss policy reforms with EU leaders in December.

(Editing by Rex Merrifield and Paul Casciato)


14.07.2011

All news:

Combining the strengths: Jointly for political and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities - EIDHR
"Walk of Shame on 5 May" - Save the date
Autism Awareness
SEMINAR – COMMUNICATION AND NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Donation of natural supplements
PROUD OF WHAT WE DO IN PAST 10 YEARS ( and a few more)
Establishing an informal parliamentary group for improving the status, position and quality of life of persons with disabilities ( PWDs Group )
International Day of persons with disability marked in Serbian National Assembly
DISABILITY IS NOT THE QUESTION OF CHOICE – YOUR ATTITUDE IS
Advocacy and local support networks building
Workshop on social enterpreneurship
Stop Saying 'Wheelchair-Bound' And Other Outdated And Offensive Terms To People With Disabilities
ANTI POVERTY NETWORK SERBIA
INTENSIVE EDUCATION
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2013
Voice for equality
A life of dignity for all: accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015
Sustainable support services for PWDs in Serbia
FORCED STERILISATION FINDINGS
Accessibility as a human right
Regional Balkan network of DPOs
Pravilnici
By laws
State of the World's Children
Process of adoption of the Law on Personal Assistance in Slovenia
Every child needs a teacher
Hall of Fame: Gordana Rajkov, CIL Serbia
INNOSERVIS
REGIONAL SEMINAR
Round tables
ENIL’s key definitions on Independent Living
TELE ASISTENCY
The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film
Breaking boundaries
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY - 10 December 2012
Rio +20
Education for Personal Assistants
PLACE FOR US
Recognize how your stories influence your experience
Fair of Civil Society Organisations
PLACE FOR US
Europe 2020 Strategy
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2012
Seven Reasons to Attend a Job Fair
A PLACE FOR US
ZRENJANIN – CITY FOR ALL
A PLACE FOR US
Joint Committee publishes report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living
The Cost of Disabilities Could Reach 77.2% of Household Income
Ministry for Labor and Social Policy: The First Fair on social protection in Serbia
Call for Submissions
The World Heritage Convention – 40 Anniversary
LAWSUIT CASES IN THE WORLD
Regional Conference on Independent Living
Enjoying the same rights
The Arts Edition
A PLACE FOR US
World Bank Projects Sluggish Growth for the South East European Economies in 2011 and 2012
International Day of PWDs
My Daughter is Leaving Home: Reflections on Living Independently
A PLACE FOR US
MIDWAT - phase II
II MODULE - QUALITY STANDARDS IN SERVICE PROVIDING
FREEDOM DRIVE
New ENIL EC member from Serbia
Center for Independent Living Serbia OSI at the Serbia-EU Forum
FREEDOM DRIVE 2011
DPI Europe
STUDY VISIT TO SLOVENIA
Step by step to the project



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