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Problems involving disability and air transport regulations

Question écrite de M. Domènec RUIZ DEVESA - Commission européenne

Question de M. Domènec RUIZ DEVESA,

Diffusée le 19 mars 2024

Subject: Problems involving disability and air transport regulations

A Spanish passenger with reduced mobility was initially denied boarding on Vueling flight VY8322 from Paris Orly to Alicante on 6 October 2023. As a result, he experienced stress and anxiety during the three hours prior to boarding. The airline claimed that the batteries in his mobility scooter did not comply with its internal rules, despite the fact that he had not had any problems on previous flights with the same airline (ALC-BCN, VY1301 and BCN-ORY, VY8006). In the end, the airline allowed him to board the plane.

Under Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, a disabled person or person with reduced mobility may travel with up to two pieces of mobility equipment.

However, Article 4 of that same regulation stipulates that ‘an air carrier [...] may refuse [...] to accept a reservation from or to embark a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility’.

1. Does the Commission consider the airline’s actions reasonable in cases like this?

2. Does the Commission take the view that Article 4 of the regulation is consistent with the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union?

3. Does the Commission think the regulation needs amending in order to avoid situations like this?

Submitted:20.3.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 27 mai 2024

Answer given by Ms Vălean on behalf of the European Commission

(28 May 2024)

1. The Commission does not have sufficient details on the incident described in the Honourable Member’s question to draw conclusions as to whether the airline complied with the relevant legislation in this case. It would also emphasise that this would be for the competent national enforcement body to assess (1).

2. Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 (2) permits only a very limited derogation from the right of persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (PRM) to travel by air. Transport may be denied only for reasons related to aviation safety requirements imposed by international, Union (3), (4), or national legislation or safety requirements established by the authority that issued the air operator's certificate to the air carrier concerned, or if the size of the aircraft or its doors makes their embarkation or carriage physically impossible. It accordingly respects the general principle of non-discrimination enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

3. A Commission legislative proposal adopted in 2023 (5) includes provisions intended to strengthen enforcement and ensure that PRM are not denied boarding for reasons other than those listed in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006. Once adopted, the proposal would in particular oblige carriers to regularly publish statistics on the number of denied boarding situations and related complaints. In addition, national authorities would be obliged to base their monitoring and enforcement activities on a risk assessment. If they considered that air carriers were unjustly denying transport to PRM, they would need to take commensurate action.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://transport.ec.europa.eu/document/download/456e05ab-e120-4976-a736-7c861934a98c_en?filename=2006_1107_national_enforcement_bodies.pdf

2 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with

reduced mobility when travelling by air OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 1. 3 ∙ ⸱

See Annex IV, Subpart B, CAT.OP.MPA.155 of Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 of 5 October 2012 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council, OJ L 296, 25.10.2012, p. 1-148. 4 ∙ ⸱

Commission Regulation (EU) 965/2012, notably Annex IV, Subpart A, CAT.GEN.MPA.200, reflects the ‘Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air’ as promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in its ‘Doc 9284’ publication. 5 ∙ ⸱ COM(2023) 753 final.









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