Review of Airline Two Wheelchair Policies

Outcome of the Review

The department has completed a review into the two wheelchair policies of some Australian airlines.

The department acknowledges that there may be limits to the number of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance which an airline can carry on a particular flight. In a normal operating environment, some airlines may be limited in the number of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance they are able to accept depending on the operational and safety requirements of the particular flight. The department therefore recommends airlines adopt a more flexible approach, rather than always imposing a strict limit of two passengers requiring wheelchair assistance per flight.

The department has updated the following guidance advice in consultation with the Aviation Access Forum to reflect the preferred policy approach outlined above:

The department is pleased to advise that some airlines have already agreed to adopt the more flexible approach advocated by the department and have updated disability access information available on their website accordingly.

Background

On 26 February 2014, this department released a draft Policy Paper for comment regarding the two wheelchair policies of some Australian domestic airlines which limit the number of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance that can travel per flight.

The Policy Paper acknowledged that making provisions for an unlimited number of passengers requiring assistance is not practical especially for the operation of low cost carriers, however by introducing greater flexibility and improving booking processes, it is possible for airlines to alleviate some of the adverse effects of the two wheelchair policy on passengers with mobility restrictions.