[AI] Please give your comments on the DGCA's CAR for Air Travel of the Disabled People

SC Vashishth subhashvashishth at gmail.com
Sat May 17 09:47:33 EDT 2008

Dear Friends

Finally the 8th draft dated 24th April 2008 has seen the light of the day
after the Ministry of Civil Aviation cleared it to become the new CAR
Guideline on Carriage of People with Disabilities and People with Reduced
Mobility effective 01st May 2008.  *The New CAR is available at

I am attaching a brief assessment of the New CAR viz. Good Points and Issues
that still needs to be addressed (Loop Holes). There might be few other
areas that I might have left and you may be able to point them out.

*I would request you to kindly provide your inputs so that we jointly can
fight for rectifying the shortcomings together.*

* *

* *

*Good Points included in the DGCA's New CAR *

*effective 01 May 2008*

1.                  To remove confusion between People with
disabilities/People with Reduced Mobility and Sick/medically ill passengers,
the new CAR has defined the *Incapacitated Passengers as those with medical
condition* and Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) and Persons with
Disabilities (PwDs) as those whose mobility is impaired/reduced when using
transport (Ref Section 3).

2.                  It mandates that no airlines will refuse to carry
PwD/PRM and their assistive aids/devices, escorts & *Guide Dogs*.

3.                  Emergency Evacuation procedures and Training on handling
PwD/PRM shall be included in Airline's Training & Safety manuals.

4.                  *Only trained persons shall be assigned to assist and
handling* the passengers with disabilities.

5.                  All Airlines *will assist those who wish to travel alone
without an escort (Ref. para 4.8)*

6.                  Barrier Free Access, accessible toilets and Assistance
Booths close to the entrance (within visible proximity at arrival/departure
terminals) with International symbol of Disability at the Airport are
mandated in 4.10

7.                  No limit on number of PwD on a flight. Equal choice of
seat allocation.

8.                  No medical Clearances of special forms shall be insisted
from PwD/PRM.

9.                  All assistive aids shall be provided *without any extra
costs *to the passengers.

10.             Pwds/PRMs including Blind passengers shall not be restricted
to any particular cabin or seating areas. *Guide Dogs are allowed in the
Cabin* with prior information.

11.             Individual briefing to PRM/PwDs /their escorts before take
off by senior cabin crew of airline. Blind passengers to be provided *Braille
brochures and large print brochures besides verbal briefing*.

12.             Once ticket is confirmed, no further enquiries shall be made
(Para 9.5).

13.             In case of loss or damage to the mobility equipment during
storage and handling, the airlines shall be liable for providing *suitable

14.             *Assistive Aids and Devices can be carried as hand
baggage*in the aircraft (Ref: note to para 7.5)

*15.             *In-transit offloading- in case of overnight halt,
the *accommodation
provided should be accessible and barrier free.*

*Issues that need to be addressed:*

* *

   1. Para 4.6 "Passengers who declare independence in feeding,
   Communication with reasonable accommodation, toileting and personal needs
   are allowed to travel without escort." *This section is discriminatory
   against people who require some support in areas of feeding and personal
   needs etc and it gives a right to airlines to disallow the passengers to
   fly, if they don't declare independence. We feel that this para looses its
   relevance in light of para 4.8 which is an enabling and positive para. Thus
   in view of this para 4.6 should be deleted in toto.*
   2. Para 4.9 -People not holding any Disability Certificate also to be
   given all facilities *but at a cost.  – This is not acceptable since
   Government of India has so far has failed to provide Disability Certificates
   to all the disabled population and many do not go to obtain one due to
   ridiculous and time consuming procedures*. Hence, *this condition will
   adversely affect them for no fault of theirs. Also the Airliners have been
   providing free services to the elderly people who seek much more assistance
   and support that what a blind passenger might seek. Thus this would amount
   to discrimination on the basis of disability and we strongly recommend that
   no additional fee should be charged from any one*.

   1. *Provisions* *regarding charges for Human assistance are not
   acceptable* as devised by 6.1 (a). By doing so the person with disability
   would be put on a disadvantageous position vis-à-vis his non-disabled
   counterparts and would amount to "Discrimination on the basis of Disability"
   and also against principle of "reasonable accommodation" thus contravenes
   Article 9 of UNCRPD. For ease of reference Definitions of both terms are
   appended along with Article 9 UNCRPD as *Annexure A.*

   1. There is an inherent contradiction in para 6 of the CAR Guideline:
   While Opening words are *"All assistive aids shall be provided without
   any extra cost to the passengers."* The first sub para 6(a) provides a
   loop hole by declaring that "Any charges for human assistance, if required,
   may be levied by the Airlines." Similarly  sub para 6.4 (b) *seeks to
   charge for narrow wheelchair type aisle chairs* which are without
   armrests and can be moved about in the passenger cabin and can be used for
   internal mobility by persons with reduced mobility. It says "Any nominal
   charge in this regard, if levied, shall be paid by the passenger."*  The
   narrow width of the passage in the aeroplane is a design fault and not the
   fault of wheelchair user. If the present passage could accommodate the
   personal wheelchairs then aisle chairs would not be needed in its first
   place. Thus the users should not be penalized /charged for the design fault.
   It is recommended that for all future procurements of aircraft, the passage,
   toilets etc having access features should be invariably provided. Till then
   the aisle chairs should be provided without any costs.*

* *

   1. The above charges under 6,4(b) also *contradict para 9.1* (Assistance
   on the plane) which provides that* All airlines should assist a passenger
   with disability to get to the toilet. *Any PRM would eventually need an
   aisle chair for internal mobility including reaching toilet. It
also *contradict
   para 4.8* which says "*All airlines shall provide necessary assistance to
   PwDs/PRM who wish to travel alone without an escort.*

* *

   1. Charges for Assistance in Disembarkation at point of transfer and /or
   destination: *In para 7.7 the airline seeks to charge a nominal amount
   for request for assistance in baggage delivery and getting out of the
   airport*. This is absolutely unnecessary and not acceptable. Any charge
   for assistance in getting the baggage delivered to a blind person, for
   example, would put him to disadvantage just because he can not see and needs
   help to locate his/her baggage! Doesn't this amount to discrimination?
   2. *Complaint Procedure* – The role of an external agency has not been
   provided. *No time limit for complaint redressal has been given*.
   Earlier, the complaints used to go to the DGCA, CCPD. Now in case of any
   infringement of the CAR, the user can access the managing body of
   airlines/airports only who have never in past done any better thing than
   apologizing- sometimes in person and sometimes in public! *Thus we feel
   that there could be a Grievance Handling Body consisting of members from all
   scheduled and non-scheduled airliners at a single window as it would be
   difficult to chase different airlines individually and one would shift the
   blame on the other in case failure of interline coordination is being
   reported. Also there should be a time limit for redressal of complaint
   failing which appeal to DGCA and CCPD should lie.*


*Annexure- A*

* *

*UNCRPD- Article 2- Definitions*

"*Discrimination on the basis of disability*" means any distinction,
exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or
effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on
an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in
the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It
includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable

"*Reasonable accommodation*" means necessary and appropriate modification
and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where
needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the
enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and
fundamental freedoms"

Article 9 - Accessibility

1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate
fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures
to *ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with
others, to the physical environment, to transportation*, to information and
communications, including information and communications technologies and
systems, *and to other facilities and services open or provided to the
public*, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall
include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to
accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia

   1. Buildings, roads*, transportation* and other indoor and outdoor
   facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
   2. Information, communications and other services, including electronic
   services and emergency services.

2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:

   1. Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum *standards
   and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or
   provided to the publi*c;
   2. *Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which
   are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of
   accessibility for persons with disabilities*;
   3. *Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing
   persons with disabilities*;
   4. Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage
   in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;
   5. *Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries*, including
   guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, *to
   facilitate accessibility to* buildings *and other facilities open to the
   public; *
   6. Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons
   with disabilities to ensure their access to information;
   7. Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and
   communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
   8. Promote the design, development, production and distribution of
   accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an
   early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at
   minimum cost.

* ** *

*The New CAR is available at  http://www.dgca.nic.in/cars/D3M-M1.pdf*

Subhash Chandra Vashishth,
Mobile : +91-11-9811125521

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