Disability Access Facilitation Plans—Template for Airport Operators

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  1. Reservation and Pre-Flight Planning
  2. Terminal Entry and Exit
  3. Security Screening
  4. Airport Terminal
  5. Direct Assistance
  6. Service Delivery
  7. Communications
  8. Planning and Review

The Disability Access Facilitation Plans

Objective

In the context of airport operations, the primary purpose of a Disability Access Facilitation Plan (DAFP) is to be a platform for operators to communicate to the travelling public the availability and accessibility of services for passengers with disability.

The DAFP should outline an airport operator's policies, procedures and facilities for enabling access to each stage of the journey for passengers with disability, and should be developed and reviewed with appropriate consultation.

Airport operators should ensure that the DAFP is informative, simple, easy to understand and accessible by using of visual material, such as internationally recognised symbols, and other complementary media, such as informational videos, to assist passengers to identify and consume the information.

Using the Disability Access Facilitation Plan Template

This template will assist airport operators in the development of a DAFP and should be read together with the Guidance to assist the preparation and review of a Disability Access Facilitation Plan—October 2015.

The template is structured according to the stages of a journey and poses questions for each stage to assist operators to both determine what advice needs to be provided and identify possible gaps in service or facilities.

Not all matters will be relevant to every operation, and not all facilities or services will be able to be provided by every operation. Airport operators should consider their individual circumstances and operating environment and determine what should and can reasonably be covered in their DAFP, as well as the best format for presenting the information.

The questions do not seek to set new service standards. The minimum standards for airport operators are found in the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and the Disability (Access to Premises—Buildings) Standards 2010. However, it is worth noting that some questions have been included in response to reports of difficulties commonly experienced by passengers with disabilities. Therefore, in using the template and developing or reviewing a DAFP, operators may identify gaps or areas for improvement.

Published plans should provide detailed information about access for travellers with disability and should not just indicate general statements of policy.

Making the Disability Access Facilitation Plan accessible

It is important that the DAFP can be easily accessed by those trying to find information about disability access at the airport.

The DAFP should be published on the airport's website, or if there is no dedicated website, on another appropriate website, for example the local council website. The website should be maintained to an appropriate disability accessible standard, such as the W3C recommended Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). More information can be found here: www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/.

Consider using a recognised visual symbol, such as the International Access Symbol for Persons with Disabilities (ISO 7001) on the website home page that links directly to the DAFP. Using a recognised visual symbol could make it easier for passengers with disabilities to locate the DAFP.

1. Reservation and Pre-Flight Planning

Guidance Note

In this section, the airport operator should outline policies, procedures that passengers with disability, carers or other third parties may need to be aware of prior to arriving at the airport, including contact details and locations where they can obtain assistance.

This section should also identify what information the passenger could provide prior to arriving at the airport to make the travel experience more effective.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in this section of the DAFP include:

Advance notice and information about passenger needs prior to arrival

  • What advance notice would the airport need or require relating to the needs of a passenger with disability?
  • How, if at all, can the airport provide assistance to passengers with disability if advance notice is given?
  • What flexibility does the airport have if no advance notice has been given (e.g. due to late changes to travel plans)?
  • What processes does the airport have to coordinate with other service providers, in particular the airlines?
  • Does the airport receive information on the needs of passengers with disability from the airlines to enable greater cooperation in assisting such passengers?

Assistance Available to Passengers

With regard to any facilities, services and resources available to accommodate passengers with disabilities:

  • Are certain facilities, services and resources only available upon request? If so, how is this request made?

    Section 4 on Airport Terminal is the suggested opportunity to detail the facilities and services available. However, if these are available only upon request or with advance notice, this section is a good opportunity to bring this requirement to the reader's attention, before referring the reader to Section 4 for detail of that service.
  • How can passengers access other or more detailed information on the resources and facilities available? What are the contact details for this information?

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2. Terminal Entry and Exit

Note: Part 5 of this Template relates to Direct Assistance—if an airport wishes to address kerbside assistance in that Part, it may wish to insert a cross-reference at this point.

Guidance Note

Passengers with disability may require assistance to enter the terminal from car parks or drop off points and, once inside, to the check-in desks and security screening areas within the terminal.

In this section, an airport operator should outline arrangements for assistance from car parks or drop off points into the terminal and how a passenger with disability may access those arrangements.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Facilities

  • Are disabled car parking spaces available? If so, how many and where are they located? What is the distance between those spaces and the terminal?
  • What drop-off and pick-up points are available for passengers with disabilities, particularly those who have visual or hearing related disabilities?
  • Are there communication points (e.g. telephones) or directional guidance facilities (e.g. tactile ground surface indicators) available at or around car parking areas or drop off points that are available to assist people to get help or to navigate to the terminal building?

Support services

  • Does the airport provide direct assistance for people with disabilities to move from car parks, public transport connection points or drop off points into the terminal building and out again? If so, how are these services accessed?
  • Is information about terminal access provided on maps of the airport and/or on road signage upon entry?
  • What services are available to assist with the transfer of passengers with disabilities from one terminal to another?

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3. Security Screening

Note: This section applies primarily to an airport operator when it is the responsible screening authority within Australia.

Guidance Note

Passengers with disability may often require assistance in proceeding through the security screening process at an airport or an alternative to standard screening arrangements.

Where an airport operator (or their agent) is responsible for the security screening processes at an airport, this section of the DAFP should outline the policies, procedures and arrangements relating to the screening process, including procedures relating to the screening of mobility aids and assistance animals.

Where an airport operator is not responsible for the security screening in an airport, the airport operator should highlight this in their DAFP and identify the appropriate contact for passengers to discuss security screening arrangements.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Security Screening Policies and Procedures

  • How is screening of passengers with disabilities managed? Are options given to the passenger on the method of screening, in particular an option to stand or sit, or having the screening take place in private?
  • How are assistance animals, wheelchairs and other mobility aids handled during the screening process?

Disability competency for screening staff

  • What training is provided to security screeners to assist them in screening passengers with disabilities? While this is a matter for operational planning, it may be useful to include reference to this in the DAFP to provide reassurance to passengers that they will be treated appropriately, and with dignity and respect.
  • How do screening staff comply with the relevant guidelines or procedures, particularly to the extent that those guidelines or procedures relate to the screening of passengers with disabilities?

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4. Airport Terminal

Note: If any of the suggested services are the responsibility of and/or provided by airlines at an airport, it would be useful to inform the reader of this fact. This will minimise confusion regarding the division of responsibilities and aid the passenger's movement through the airport.

Guidance Note

In this section, the airport operator should outline the assistance and facilities available to passengers with disability within terminal areas. It should also provide information on how to access assistance.

The airport operator should also clarify how they will notify passengers with disability about important travel information (e.g. flight departures) or how the passenger can access this information from another source, i.e. an airline operator.

Where possible, a map in an accessible format should be included as part of the DAFP that clearly shows the layout of the airport and the location of terminal facilities and disability access supports.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Information

  • Are the services, facilities and equipment available for passengers with disabilities highlighted in a map or other informative material? Is this map available in the DAFP or easily locatable on the airport's website and in an accessible format?
  • Is there signage at the airport that meets the needs of people with disability, including complying with relevant standards? See Part 17 of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and the Disability (Access to Premises—Buildings) Standards 2010.
  • If the airport is responsible, what provision is made to ensure that airline announcements, such as last calls and change of arrival and departure gates, are visible for people with hearing impairment?
  • Do televisions (displaying broadcasted television, as compared to flight scheduling) in the terminal have the text captioning option in operation?
  • Are hearing loops provided and maintained? If so, do the loops operate throughout the terminal or only in particular areas? If only in particular areas, is there signage indicating this?

Facilities

  • Are pathways and check-in and waiting areas at the airport accessible to people with disability? See the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and the Disability (Access to Premises—Buildings) Standards 2010.
  • Does the airport have check-in desks at a height convenient for a person seated in a wheelchair or other mobility device?
  • Are public facilities, such as toilets, accessible to people with disabilities, particularly those with visual, hearing or mobility related disabilities? If some are more accessible than others, an airport may wish to identify/describe their location within the terminal?
  • Are there toileting facilities or areas for relieving assistance animals?
  • What tactile components (e.g. Braille signage, TGSIs) exist to assist people who are blind or have vision impairment with finding their way around the airport terminal?
  • Does the airport provide equipment or assistance to assist passengers with reduced mobility, such as people movers and terminal wheelchairs, and, if so, how does a passenger access this equipment or assistance?
  • What infrastructure does the airport provide to ensure that facilities for Immigration, Customs and Quarantine accommodate the needs of people with disabilities?
  • Does the airport have aerobridges for the boarding of aircraft by passengers? Does the airport provide alternative arrangements for boarding aircraft where aerobridges are not available?

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5. Direct Assistance

Note: If any of the suggested services are the responsibility of and/or provided by airlines at the airport, it would be useful to inform the reader of this fact. This will minimise confusion regarding the division of responsibilities and aid the passenger's movement through the terminal.

Guidance Note

In this section, airport operators should provide information whether any specific additional assistance is available to passengers with disability, over and above the provision of general information and facilities outlined in the section above.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Further information or assistance for passengers on disability access

  • Is there a service person(s) at the airport which a passenger can contact or request to speak to, in order to seek assistance with an issue that arises unexpectedly or to request additional assistance? If an airport operator cannot provide direct assistance, it should be stated in the DAFP along with information about whether assistance may be available from other service providers at the airport.
  • Is the airport able to assist passengers with disability using a terminal people mover? If so, how does a passenger access this service?
  • Does the airport operator provide assistance with:
    • terminal entry and exit?
    • movement around the terminal?
    • transferring to a connecting flight?
    • border processing (when the passenger is flying internationally)?
    • transferring a person between the person's own mobility aid and a mobility aid provided by the airport?

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6. Service Delivery

Guidance Note

In this section, an airport operator should communicate how their staff members engage with passengers with disabilities when providing assistance through the airport and the processes in place to monitor and improve that engagement. In addition, an airport operator should include information about how they engage with the disability community.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Staff skills

  • Are any of the airport staff conversant in Auslan (Australian sign language)? If so, are there any means through which a person who is Deaf or hearing impaired can readily identify an Auslan-fluent staff member (e.g. sign on name badge etc)?
  • Are there airport staff, or of other providers at the airport (for example airlines), which provide specific services or assistance to people with disability? Include any relevant information.
  • What training does the airport provide to airport staff, including contractors, to support them to appropriately assist passengers with disability and/or their equipment?

Security environment

  • How are security arrangements that may present difficulties for people with disability managed? For example, arrangements for access where there are limitations on vehicle access at the terminal entry.
  • Is there training for staff to assist people with disability and to make staff aware of alternative arrangements?

Performance Monitoring:

  • What mechanisms, if any, does the airport have in place to monitor its performance on disability access facilitation for quality assurance purposes?
  • Are there ways that passengers can provide feedback to the airport about their experience?
  • Does the airport report on performance against its disability access policies and legislation in its annual report?

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7. Communications

Guidance Note

As noted in relation to pre-flight planning and reservations, effective communication is critical to providing effective disability access arrangements. In this section, airport operators should provide information about how they will communicate with people with disability and how passengers can provide feedback on their experience.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Making information accessible

  • Is information is easily accessible and does it take into account the diverse needs of passengers with disability?
  • Is information provided in alternate formats and easily located on the website or in the terminal? Is information online available to an appropriate disability accessible standard, such as the W3C recommended Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0)?

Feedback

  • Are there a number of ways in which passengers can provide feedback to the airport operator about their experiences with airport services and facilities? Some options include—in person at the airport; through an online form or generic mailbox; by telephone to a responsible area.
  • Is there a process for handling formal complaints? What timeframes apply to handling of complaints?

    For guidance on establishing a complaint handling process operators could consider ISO 10002:2014 Standard—Quality management -- Customer satisfaction -- Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations which is intended for all types of organisations in all sectors. More information is available at: www.iso.org/iso/home.htm

Consultation

  • What are the airport's consultation arrangements to ensure disability access considerations are taken into account when planning changes at the airport or to assist with the development and review of the DAFP? How can people get involved? Some examples include:
    • If the airport maintains a Community Aviation Consultation Group, including one or more disability representatives on the Group.
    • Inviting comment from the local community about proposed changes at the airport or when developing or updating a DAFP.
    • Establishing a disability reference group at the airport if there is a sufficient number of staff with disability, either employed by the airport or other businesses and service providers at the airport, who wish to contribute to planning activities.

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8. Planning and Review

Guidance Note

DAFPs need to be periodically reviewed and updated to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with current operations.

A good time to review the plan is when there are significant changes to operations or a major development activity at the airport. Reviewing the plan at these times will increase the likelihood of more effectively incorporating improved access arrangements into new operations or facilities. A revised plan can then be published once the new operations or facilities are in place. Proactive operators may wish to forecast opportunities for the disability sector to contribute to planning processes and could identify those activities in their plan and outline how people can become involved.

It is also prudent to periodically review DAFPs even where there is no specific change at the airport—for example every year or two.

In this section, operators may wish to outline the ways in which they will incorporate disability access into planning and development activities to foster interest from people wishing to contribute and how often they will review the plan to ensure it remains up to date and relevant.

Issues an airport operator may wish to include in its DAFP in this section include:

Planning and development activities

  • Are there opportunities for people interested in disability access issues to contribute to future airport planning and development activities?
  • How do the airport's consultation processes for preparation of a Master Plan or Major Development Plan provide for consideration of disability access improvements? That is, how will people be able to contribute to the processes?
  • Are there any disability access improvements scheduled to be implemented in the future which can be referenced in the DAFP? Is there a timeframe for delivery?

Review

  • How often will the DAFP be reviewed?
  • What consultations will occur and how can people contribute to the process?

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