The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), is review-ing its safety regulations in a bid to provide better air transport services for Persons With Dis-ability (PWDs).
According to the Authority, the move was to address the challenges PWDs faced in accessing air transport services and also ensure their comfort and safety.
As a result, the GCAA has developed new safety rules dubbed Provision for the Carriage by Air with PWDs under the GCAA Safety Regulations, L.I. 2000.
Under the new regulations, which are applicable to the Ghana Airport Company Limited, the airlines, travel and tour companies, ground handling companies at the Airport and all the companies operating within the airport enclave, aircraft operators shall not refuse to transport PWDs on the basis of their disabilities.
However, the regulations stipulate that an airline may refuse carriage of PWDs if “the size of the aircraft or its doors makes the embarkation or carriage of that person with disability or person with reduced mobility physically impossible” and also “if the medical condition of the person with disability endangers the health and safety of the cabin crew and other passengers”.
Also, under the new regulation, all the companies operating under the aviation industry were mandated to provide facilities which would make it easy for PWDs to access their services and also enjoined PWDs to inform their travelling agents of their form of disabilities so that adequate provisions could be made for them by the airlines they want to travel with.
Opening a stakeholder workshop in Accra last week, the Deputy Director-General of the GCAA in charge of Finance and Administration, Abdulai Alhassan said the Article of the 1992, among other things, stipulated that no person shall be discriminated against because of his sex or physical abnormality.
He said the GCAA safety regulations, L.I. 2000 also mandated the GCAA to put measures in place to ensure the safety of air of PWDs.
“It is to uphold the supreme law of the land and GCAA’s regulations that we are coming out with new regulations to ensure the safety and comfort of PWDs,” Mr Alhassan said.
He stressed that GCAA was committed to ensuring the safety of PWDs to enhance their air travelling experience and entreated all the stakeholders to comply with the new directive.
The Director of Legal, International Relations and Corporate Communications of GCAA, Ms. Joyce A. Thompson, expantiating on the new regulations said it would become enforceable immediately it was gazetted.
She explained that the new directive would become applicable a month after publication and also disclosed that other companies operating within the airport enclave would be given a month to institute measures to make their facilities PWD user-friendly.
Counsel for the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, said the disability movement was “relatively satisfied with the new regulations”.
“You cannot get everything you want and I think the new regulations are good omen by the GCAA to address air travel needs of PWDs,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said the disability movement would monitor and ensure that the new regulations were implemented.
By Kingsley Asare