Claims against airlines for disability discrimination are increasing, therefore it’s important for airlines to know what disability standards the law requires now and in the near future. A target date for more extensive compliance with disability standards was reached at the end of 2012, and another has been set for 2017. Most spaces of aircraft and airports that are used by passengers are affected by disability standards. Seating, signage, boarding points, baggage, furniture, and even food served need consider accessibility. The law requires an overhaul of these facilities over time, in order to make travel more accessible for all people.
In terms of disability discrimination, airlines are affected by the:
Access Audits for terminals are complex and involve auditing all accessible related parts of the facility. Typically these include:
In 2007, Australia signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in a global effort to promote the equal and active participation of all people with a disability. The Convention puts the responsibility back on society to ensure that all people must be provided with opportunities to reach their full potential, regardless of their situation or disability.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 (Com) provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. Disability discrimination happens when people with a disability are treated less fairly than people without a disability. Disability discrimination also occurs when people are treated less fairly because they are relatives, friends, carers, co-workers or associates of a person with a disability.
The DDA encourages everyone to be involved in implementing the Act and to share in the overall benefits to the community and the economy that flow from participation by the widest range of people.
The Transport Standards were formulated under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and came into operation on 23 October 2002. The Standards establish minimum accessibility requirements to be met by providers and operators of public transport conveyances, infrastructure and premises. The Standards take into account the range of disability covered by the DDA and apply to most public transport.
A disability action plan enables an organisation to meet its obligations under the DDA. A Disability Action Plan states how an organisation will make changes over a period of time to reduce discrimination and promote equality of people with a disability.
An action plan prepared under the DDA must contain the following (s.61):
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