Thursday

18th Jan 2018

EU forbids airlines to discriminate against disabled and elderly

  • Some low-cost carriers have complained about expected extra costs due to the new EU rules (Photo: EUobserver)

People with reduced mobility should get the same access to air travel as other passengers, according to new EU rules set to come into effect on Thursday (26 July).

Under anti-discrimination legislation, airlines and tour operators will be forbidden to refuse passengers on the basis of reduced mobility, unless "duly justified" by safety reasons.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Moreover, starting from next summer (26 July 2008), the disabled or elderly will be entitled to receive free-of-charge assistance in all European airports as well as on board planes taking off in the EU.

People with reduced mobility make up around ten percent of the bloc's 492 million population. According to the European Commission, this category of ageing population will grow further.

As the EU's key regulator, the Commission acknowledges that some airlines and airports already provide the services prescribed by the regulation, but it wants to ensure they are provided freely, everywhere. EU member states and the European Parliament agreed the new rules last year.

"The phasing-in of these rules, starting tomorrow, will put an end to discrimination and give disabled and elderly passengers the help they need," transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

The list of responsibilities on behalf of airports and airlines - for which they will have to bear costs - includes providing the relevant infrastructure for disabled passengers as well as carriage for wheelchairs and guide dogs.

For their part, EU member states will be obliged to set up control authorities to guard over the enforcement of the new measures. Passengers should be able to send complaints if they are rejected or ignored by airlines and airports to these new authorities.

It will be up to European capitals to decide what type of penalties the air transport companies should face for breaking these EU rules.

Prior to their adoption, some airlines - mainly low-cost carriers, complained that the legislation would entail extra costs, which would be reflected in the price of all passenger tickets. They also pointed out that there should be limits to the number of disabled passengers on board for practical reasons.

German coalition deal aims for 'Macron-lite' EU renewal

Merkel and Schulz clear the first hurdle of coalition talks, but the SPD's full membership backing is still needed. The likely coalition parties express support for Macron's eurozone reform ideas, but remain cautious.

Uber is a transport service, EU court rules

Ruling means that national governments have the right to demand that Uber drivers request the same permits and authorisations required of taxi drivers.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan parliament elects separatist speaker
  2. Czech government resigns
  3. MEPs back tighter export rules on cyber tech
  4. Annual eurozone inflation at 1.4 percent in December
  5. EPP group calls for 'European Netflix'
  6. Ex-MEP Goulard slated for senior French bank post
  7. Luxembourg speaks out in support of Palestinian state
  8. Danish fishing communities to be hit hard by Brexit, says report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other Border Regions on How Countries Can Work Together to Generate Growth
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  4. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  5. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  8. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  9. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  10. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  11. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  12. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda