The EOC launches Easy-to-Read Guide for Accessible Air Travel in Hong Kong
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) launched today (13 December 2017) a new publication, Easy-to-Read Guide for Accessible Air Travel in Hong Kong (the “Guide”), to introduce accessible travel, provide an overview of the rights and obligations of persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) as air passengers and offer helpful tips on making journeys accessible and smooth. PRM refers to any person whose mobility is reduced due to age or any disabilities (temporary/permanent) and requires appropriate attention and adaptation of services in using air transport.
“As a statutory body tasked with implementing the anti-discrimination legislation, the EOC is highly concerned about the needs and the rights of persons with reduced mobility, including older people and persons with disabilities. Despite their physical impairment, persons with reduced mobility should enjoy the equal right to travel by air. Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), people with disabilities (PWDs) are protected against discrimination while using facilities and services in relation to transport or travel. Therefore, we have developed the Guide to help persons with reduced mobility understand their rights and obligations as air passengers and to help them plan and take a safe and pleasant journey,” said Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, Chairperson of the EOC.
In addition, the Guide explains the rights and obligations of persons with reduced mobility and/or disabilities under the DDO and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It emphasizes that airline operators should not refuse to accept a reservation for a flight or to embark passengers with a valid ticket on the grounds of their disability or reduced mobility, except for valid operational or safety reasons. It is recommended that appropriate measures should be taken to ensure PWDs access, on an equal basis with others, to transportation and its facilities.
Based on the Guidance for Airline Operators in Hong Kong: Facilitation of Persons with Reduced Mobility in Air Travel (CAD Guidance) released by the Civil Aviation Department to the Hong Kong registered air operators in 2015, the EOC has issued this Easy-to-Read Guide and hopes that other non-Hong Kong registered air operators will adopt similar PRM-friendly measures. The Guide explains the concept of accessible air travel and offers advice to air passengers with reduced mobility for planning a trip, booking a flight, at the airport and on board.
“For passengers with disabilities or others with special needs, it is very important that airlines and their staff understand and support barrier-free air travel. I hope that all people with disabilities can learn more about their rights and obligations when travelling by air and enjoy their flights,” said Miss YU Chui-yee, Hong Kong Paralympics representative in wheelchair fencing and Member of the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Members of the public can access and download the Guide from the EOC website (http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/upload/2017126149473333918.pdf). Hard copies will also be sent to airline operators, disability groups and other stakeholders for their reference.
Equal Opportunities Commission
13 December 2017