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IATA Seeks to Improve Handling of Mobility Aids

Airline industry group aims to tackle issues around safe transport of wheelchairs and other equipment

July 11, 2021

The International Air Transport Association has announced the launch of a global Mobility Aids Action Group to examine and improve the transport journey of mobility aids, including wheelchairs.

The Action Group will be the first of its kind aimed at tackling issues around the safe and secure transport of mobility aids. The issue is of huge importance to a growing number of travelers, which has prompted some airlines to start developing tools to better accommodate passengers with disabilities.

The objective of the team is to examine how the industry can do a better job of handling the equipment for travelers with disabilities. The IATA team will also provide advice and recommendations to airlines and other stakeholders concerning the establishment of policy, process and standards related to the handling and transport of mobility aids.

According to Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, every year thousands of wheelchairs are transported safely by air. However, he added, damage or loss is still occurring. And when it does, it is devastating to the passenger as these devices are more than equipment.

“They are extensions of their body and essential to their independence,” Walsh said “We acknowledge that we are not where we want to be on this as an industry. This is why we want to do something about it on a global level, not through setting up a talking shop, but by bringing the key groups together to take practical action.”