Guidelines to assist preparation of your plan
The Australian Government believes that constructive and pro-active engagement between
operators, consumers and regulators, combined with the provision of clear and transparent
consumer information, is the best approach to generating tangible improvements for passengers
This approach underpins the development of Disability Access Facilitation Plans, an initiative
announced in the National Aviation Policy White Paper. Airline and airport operators
providing and servicing Regular Public Transport are encouraged to develop plans to clearly
communicate their approach to meeting the needs of travellers with disabilities at each stage of
the travelling process, and to have publicly available information for those travellers on how to
best access the particular assistance required.
Airline and airport operators should consult with disability advocacy organisations, the
Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
(CASA) in the preparation of the plans.
Following this engagement, operators are encouraged to publish their finalised plans online.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport (the Department) will maintain a webpage
providing links to each online publication. This will provide consumers with an ability to
consult all available plans through one portal. While the Government acknowledges this
process will involve a significant demand on resources during the preparation stage, it is
expected that the plans will be available for publication by 1 July 2010, as announced in the
National Aviation Policy White Paper.
Importantly, the plans will allow the industry to clearly identify to passengers with disabilities,
the access arrangements applicable to their operations, in preparation for international and
domestic travel through Australian airports. It will also help identify means of improving those
These Guidelines are provided to assist operators in preparing their draft plans and are divided
into four sections:
Section 1: Operation of the Scheme
(How does this Scheme work? What are the steps in the process?)
Section 2: The regulatory framework
(What are the legal issues?)
Section 3: Guidance for the preparation of the draft plan
(How do I fill out the supplied template?)
Section 4: Contact details for interested stakeholders
(Who can I talk to?)
Section 1: Operation of the Scheme
Participating in the Scheme:
Airline and airport operators are encouraged to prepare and publish a plan to demonstrate how
disability access is managed within their respective operations. These operators include:
All airlines operating regular public transport services in Australia, including non-
Australian international carriers operating to, from and in Australia.
An airline group (e.g. Virgin Blue Group, Qantas Group) will have the option to
prepare an individual plan for each airline or one plan covering all airlines. However,
it is expected that a plan covering all airlines will detail any instance of variation in
access arrangements between different airline operations.
All airports from which regular public transport services operate.
Operators who use contractors to perform particular services or facilities within their
operations (e.g. security screening and ground-handling services) should outline steps
taken to facilitate disability access within these functions.
Operators who currently hold an exemption from provisions under the Disability
Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) are nonetheless encouraged to prepare and publish a
plan outlining the services and facilities provided.
Preparing the Plan:
To assist in the preparation of a plan, operators should have received both these Guidelines and
a Template relating to service provision at different stages of a journey. Details on the
Template can be found in Section 3 of these Guidelines.
During the drafting process, operators should consult with disability advocacy organisations to
ensure the wording and content is both appropriate and useful, and to provide opportunities to
obtain views on proposed strategies.
Once a draft plan has been prepared, operators should provide drafts to the AHRC and CASA
for a review of their consistency with anti-discrimination and aviation safety legislation,
recognising this is not a formal approval or endorsement process.
Should an operator choose to include in their plan comments that reflect any consultation
undertaken, the consulted body(ies) should be given the opportunity to agree to the wording of
Contact details for the disability organisations, the AHRC and CASA are found in Section 4.
Publishing the Plan:
Operators are encouraged to publish their finalised plans online. Once the first plans become
finalised and published, the Department will establish and maintain a webpage that provides
comprehensive links to each online publication for easy reference by consumers. This page
will explain to consumers the purpose and objectives of the plans - in particular, highlighting
their key function as communication tools.
The central compilation of the plans will enable passengers with disabilities to know exactly
what to expect from an airline or airport, as well as what they can do to assist the delivery of
service. In addition to online publication, and where resources allow, operators are encouraged
to have plans available in alternative formats for the benefit of passengers who do not have
internet access, or may require versions in alternative formats. Operators may also choose to
provide a resource available at airport counters that summarises the services and facilities
available within an airport or airline operation.
Operators should update their plan regularly to maintain their currency and to reflect changes
and improvements to services and facilities. This will further assist those passengers with
disabilities to be better informed and remain up-to-date in their understanding of services
Section 2: The regulatory framework
This part of the Guidelines brings to your attention the regulatory provisions which are directly
relevant to the preparation of the plans, particularly those relating to aviation safety and
disability discrimination. Applicable international standards are also referred to.
CASA regulates the safety of the aviation industry in Australia. It administers the Civil
Aviation Act 1988, the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, the Civil Aviation
Regulations 1988 and numerous pieces of delegated legislation to ensure the aviation industry
in Australia is safe and compliant with international safety standards.
A number of elements of this regulatory framework impact on the facilitation of passengers
with disabilities. To ensure compliance with those provisions, airlines and airports should
continue their liaison with CASA.
Below is a brief survey of applicable disability discrimination law and guidance, which will
assist in the preparation of draft plans. It does not comprise authoritative legal advice and is
presented for guidance only. When setting parameters on the application of disability access
policies and measures in the plans, airlines and airports should consider other passengers who
may require or benefit from extra assistance throughout the journey and from accessible
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is national, uniform legislation which prohibits
discrimination against people with disabilities in a number of areas of life, including the
provision of services such as public transportation, and access to premises.
Disability is defined broadly in the DDA and includes physical, sensory, intellectual and
psychiatric disability. Specifically, the definition is as follows:
disability, in relation to a person, means:
(a) total or partial loss of the person‟s bodily or mental functions; or
(b) total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
(c) the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
(d) the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
(e) the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person‟s body; or
(f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person
without the disorder or malfunction; or
(g) a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person‟s thought processes, perception of
reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;
and includes a disability that:
(h) presently exists; or
(i) previously existed but no longer exists; or
(j) may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that
(k) is imputed to a person.
To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour
that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.
Discrimination is defined to include:
direct and indirect discrimination,
discrimination to relatives and associates,
discrimination on the basis of the possession of disability aids such as wheelchairs,
canes or hearing aids, and
discrimination on the basis that a person needs assistance from other people or, in some
cases, animals (e.g. guide dogs).
The DDA outlines the obligations of individuals and organisations in Australia. The Disability
Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) aim to provide greater
certainty and clarity around these obligations for public transport operators. The Transport
Standards have legal effect and a failure to comply with them can be the subject of a complaint
of unlawful discrimination under the DDA.
The AHRC is able to grant temporary exemptions from some parts of the DDA. Exemptions
can only be granted for purposes that further the objects of the Act, may be subject to
conditions set by the AHRC, and are limited to a term of not more than five years. For further
information on exemptions, please consult the AHRC website
(http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/exemptions/exemptions.html) or contact the AHRC
directly (see Section 4 of these Guidelines for contact details).
As a complement to the DDA, the Australian Government affirmed its commitment to the
equal treatment of people with disabilities by ratifying the United Nations‟ Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities in July 2008.
On an international level, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) maintains a set
of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in relation to the facilitation of the
transport of passengers requiring assistance related to their disability. They can be found in
Chapters 6 and 8 of Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (the
Department can send a copy upon request). ICAO Circular 274-AT/114 (attached) contains
guidance material for their implementation.
ICAO defines a person with a disability as:
Any person whose mobility is reduced due to a physical incapacity (sensory or
locomotor), an intellectual deficiency, age, illness or any other cause of disability when
using transport, and whose situation needs special attention and the adaptation to the
person’s needs of the services made available to all passengers.
Australia is an active Member State of the ICAO and takes its ICAO responsibilities seriously.
As a result, Australian aviation industry participants are encouraged to comply with these
Section 3: Guidance for the preparation of the draft
Upon inviting your airline or airport to prepare and publish a plan, the Department will have
provided a template, broadly tailored to suit the size of your operation.
Important notes on the template
The template contains sections relating to each stage of the passenger‟s journey. The
operator is advised to communicate information of relevance to the passenger, as that
information relates to each stage of the journey, and to how the passenger‟s needs relating
to their disability will be accommodated.
The questions appearing in the template may be applicable to the content for your plan. It
is not expected that operators will respond to every question, or that plans will be
presented in “question and answer” format. The questions also do not seek to set new
service standards. However, it is worth noting that many have been drafted in response to
reports of difficulties commonly experienced by passengers with disabilities.
The template is flexible. For example, you may choose to add new headings to address
other issues, delete ones that don‟t apply to your operations, or create the document within
your company‟s corporate graphic design/letterhead. Plans should, however, be more than
just general statements of policy alone.
For the benefit of those with an intellectual or cognitive disability, participants are requested to
draft their plans in plain English, ensuring that any necessary jargon or technical terms are
spelled out and explained.
Factors to consider
This part of the Guidelines is designed to provide further and complementary guidance on
factors to be addressed in the plans. The topics mentioned below are raised for consideration
and addressing throughout the document. There are some topics (e.g. staff training) which you
may wish to address separately and specifically as a separate heading within the plan.
How the passenger can assist the provision of the best service available
While operators have responsibilities to provide non-discriminatory services and accessible
facilities, the plans offer your airline or airport the opportunity to detail how passengers with a
disability can ensure that your operation is best placed to provide an appropriate service. For
example, you may have an operational preference for passengers to communicate their
requirements in detail and with sufficient notice to enable appropriate service provision. If
there is a preferred manner in which the passenger with a disability would communicate these
requirements, the plan would ideally explain this and provide contact details or other means
through which this can be done.
However, you are requested to use language which is respectful of the entitlement of
passengers with a disability to travel at short notice.
Airlines have found that some passengers with disabilities elect not to give advance notice of
their particular needs, or that some passengers whose disabilities are not readily apparent
choose not to bring their disability to the attention of the operator at any stage of the process.
It is acknowledged that non-identification of a disability can result in potential safety risks for
the operator, but it is hoped that by communicating the tailored services which are available to
passengers when the operator is aware of the disability, the plans will encourage self-
Specific equipment is often required to assist with the smooth transport of people with
disabilities, and any aids they require. As smaller operators have less capacity, it is important
that they communicate what equipment they can or can‟t offer. Factors to consider
Devices for lifting passengers onto and off an aircraft when the passenger would
otherwise, but for their disability, use stairs
Assistance of passengers with reduced mobility to and from, and into and out of their
Availability and suitability of company wheelchairs
Transportation of mobility devices in the cargo hold
Appropriate fittings on aircraft, like moveable arm rests (to assist in the seating process
for mobility-impaired persons) and tactile components (Braille and other navigational
aids) in the cabin and toilets
Appropriate fittings in an airport terminal, or on an aircraft, like tactile ground surface
indicators (TGSIs), teletypewriters (TTYs), Braille signage and use of TV captions.
While all competitive businesses aspire to deliver quality customer service, a significant
number of disability access-related complaints arise from poor service provision at the time of
the incident. Factors to consider communicating include:
How you ensure effective communication processes:
o within your organisation, especially between booking, check-in and ground-
o with other organisations (e.g. other airlines, border agencies) to ensure a smooth
transfer between terminals and/or travel sectors
o through an identified go-to person or role authorised to respond quickly to issues
that may arise during the travel experience
Providing direct assistance to passengers where available – you may wish to outline in
your plan where, when, and to what extent, direct assistance is available
Where direct assistance is not possible, does your organisation ensure processes are in
place to assist a person with disabilities to navigate their own way to the next step in the
process (e.g. TGSIs, signage etc)?
Flexibility in systems to ensure appropriate service in extraordinary circumstances
(e.g. when an airline reservation does not accurately reflect the specific needs of the
passenger, there is a last minute change of aircraft type, the passenger is travelling at
Staff resourcing, particularly when it‟s known that a passenger with a disability will be
Staff training is critical to sensitive, effective and consistent services to passengers with a
disability. This includes training standards required for staff of contracted companies, such as
security screeners. Factors to consider communicating include:
Any training programmes provided to enhance awareness of:
o company policies on disability access
o a range of disabilities and the resultant restrictions,
o the appropriate language to be used in relations with passengers, and
o the correct handling of mobility aids, including dismantling, packing, unpacking
and assembling these aids.
Contributions of representatives of disability organisations in preparation and delivery
The use of operations manuals setting out types of assistance to be provided, who is to
provide it, and how such support or assistance can be accessed.
The Aviation Access Working Group (AAWG) has developed „Staff Training - Guidance
Material‟, which is on the Department‟s website at:
Variation in service levels
Consistency of service across the varied operations of an airline differs for all passengers, but
particularly for passengers with disabilities. The plan should indicate the operational
constraints under which services provided to a passenger with disability may differ to those
offered in other circumstances, or to other passengers; e.g. if an airline sells tickets on flights
operated by other airlines as part of codeshare or other arrangements, the airline is encouraged
to bring this aspect of its operations to the reader‟s attention, and outline how a passenger with
disability can become aware of this arrangement in advance of travel.
Changes to technology or circumstances, and upgrades or acquisition of equipment, have the
potential to result in significant improvements in disability access (for example, an airline‟s
addition of a new type of aircraft to their fleet). Where possible, airlines and airports are
encouraged to outline improvements to disability access which are expected to commence in
the near future.
Section 4: Contact details for interested stakeholders
In the preparation of plans, or at any other time, airlines and airports should feel free to consult
with the following stakeholders for assistance and guidance:
DISABILITY ADVOCACY ORGANISATIONS
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Contact: Sheila King
Position: AFDO Representative
Telephone: +61 2 6258 7508
Deafness Forum of Australia
Contact: Alex Jones
Position: Board Chairperson
Telephone: +61 2 6272 7808
National Disability Services
Contact: Tony Starkey
Position: Manager Future Solutions
Telephone: +61 2 (08) 8232 4777
Physical Disability Australia
Contact: Sue Egan
Position: Executive Officer
Telephone: +61 2 6567 1500
Australian Human Rights Commission
Contact: Mr David Mason
Position: Director, Disability Rights Policy
Telephone: +61 2 9284 9724
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Contact: Ms Sue Rice
Position: Air Safety Auditor – Cabin Safety
Telephone: +61 2 9366 3108
Contact: Richard Maning
Position: Principal Lawyer – Legal Branch
Telephone: +61 2 6217 1611
Department of Infrastructure and Transport
(Aviation & Airports Division)
Contact: Erin Gale
Position: Assistant Director, Aviation Safety – Policy & Governance
Telephone: +61 2 6274 8025
ICAO CIRCULAR 274 – AT/114
ACCESS TO AIR TRANSPORT BY PERSONS
Approved by the Secretary General
and published under his authority
Published in separate English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish editions by the International Civil
Aviation Organization. All correspondence, except orders and subscriptions, should be addressed to the
Orders should be sent to one of the following addresses, together with the appropriate remittance (by bank draft, cheque or
money order) in U.S. dollars or the currency of the country in which the order is placed. Credit card orders (American Express,
MasterCard and Visa) are accepted at ICAO Headquarters.
lnternational Civil Aviation Organization. Attention: Document Sales Unit
999 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 5H7
Telephone: (514) 954-8022; Telex: 05-24513; Facsimile: (514) 954-6769; Sitatex: YULADYA; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Egypt. ICAO Regional Director, Middle East Office, Egyptian Civil Aviation Complex,
Cairo Airport Road, Heliopolis, Cairo 11776
Telephone: (20 2) 267-4840; Facsimile: (20 2) 267-4843; Sitatex: CAICAYA
France. Directeur régional de l'OAC1, Bureau Europe et Atlantique Nord, 3 bis, villa Émile-Bergerat,
92522 Neuilly-sur-Seine (Cedex)
Téléphone: (33 1) 46 41 85 85; Télécopieur: (33 1) 46 41 85 00; Sitatex: PAREUYA
India. Oxford Book and Stationery Co., Scindia House, New Delhi 110001
or 17 Park Street, Calcutta 700016
Telephone: (91 11) 331 -5896; Facsimile: (91 11) 332-2639
Japan. Japan Civil Aviation Promotion Foundation, 15-12, 1-chome, Toranomon, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
Telephone: (81 3) 3503-2686; Facsimile: (81 3) 3503-2689
Kenya. ICAO Regional Director, Eastern and Southern African Office, United Nations Accommodation,
P.O. Box 46294, Nairobi
Telephone: (254-2) 622-395; Facsimile: (254 2) 226-706; Sitatex: NBOCAYA
Mexico. Director Regional de la OACI, Oficina Norteamérica, Centroamérica y Caribe,
Masaryk No. 29-3er. piso, Col. Chapultepec Morales, México, D.F., 11570
Téléfono: (52 5) 250-321 1; Facsímile: (52 5) 203-2757; Sitatex: MEXCAYA
Peru. Director Regional de la OACI, Oficina Sudamérica, Apartado 4127, Lima 100
Téléfono: (51 14) 302260; Facsímile: (51 14) 640393; Sitatex: LIMCAYA
Russian Federation. Aviaizdat, 48, 1. Franko Street, Moscow 121 35 1
Telephone: (7 095) 417-0405; Facsimile: (7 095) 417-0254
Senegal. Directeur régional de I'OACI, Bureau Afrique occidentale et centrale, Boîte postale 2356, Dakar
Téléphone: (221) 8-23-54-52; Télécopieur: (221) 8-23-69-26; Sitatex: DKRCAYA
South Africa. Avex Air Training (Pty) Ltd., Private Bag XI02, Halfway House, 1685, Republic of South Africa
Telephone: (27-1 1) 315-000314; Facsimile: (27-1 1) 805-3649; E-mail: email@example.com
Spain. A.E.N.A. – Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea, Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena, 14,
Planta Tercera, Despacho 3. 11, 28027 Madrid
Teléfono: (34 91) 321-3148; Facsímile: (34 91) 321-3157; Correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thailand. ICAO Regional Director, Asia and Pacific Office, P.O. Box 11, Sarnyaek Ladprao, Bangkok 10901
Telephone: (66 2) 537-8189; Facsimile: (66 2) 537-8199; Sitatex: BKKCAYA
United Kingdom. Westward Digital Limited,
37 Windsor Street, Cheltenham, Glos., GL52 2DG
Telephone: (44 1242) 235- 15 1; Facsimile: (44 1242) 584- 139
Catalogue of ICAO Publications and
Audio-visual Training Aids
Issued annually, the Catalogue lists all publications and audio-visual training
aids currently available.
Monthly supplements announce new publications and audio-visual training
aids, amendments, supplements, reprints, etc.
Available free from the Document Sales Unit, ICAO
Pursuant to a resolution of the 26th Session of the ICAO Assembly, the Tenth Session of the Facilitation Division
(FALIIO), in 1988, introduced a number of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) concerning access to air
services and airport facilities by elderly and disabled persons into Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil
Aviation -Facilitation. In 1995, the Eleventh Session of the Facilitation Division (FAL/11) built upon this work by
introducing new SARPs to reflect additional concepts, with the intent of addressing accessibility to all elements of the air
transport chain by a person with reduced mobility.
FAL/11 also recommended that ICAO adopt the term "persons with disabilities" to denote people requiring special
assistance. The following definition is now included in the Tenth Edition of Annex 9:
Person with disabilities. – Any person whose mobility is reduced due to a physical incapacity (sensory
or locomotor), an intellectual deficiency, age, illness or any other cause of disability when using
transport and whose situation needs special attention and the adaptation to the person's needs of the
services made available to all passengers.
The guidance material in this circular was put together by the ICAO Secretariat, with the advice and assistance of the
Facilitation Panel, for the purpose of elaborating on the Annex 9 SARPs and assisting the civil aviation community in
their implementation. For ease of reference, these SARPs are reproduced in the Appendix.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
GENERAL ISSUES ......................................................................... 1
Communication of information ...................................................................................... 1
Training programmes ................................................................................................. 2
AIRPORTS ................................................................................. 2
Physical accessibility ................................................................................................. 2
Ground transportation ................................................................................................ 3
ACCESS TO AIR SERVICES ............................................................... 3
Physical accessibility of aircraft ..................................................................................... 4
Services ................................................................................................................. 4
Appendix. Standards and Recommended Practices pertaining to persons with disabilities
(Extract from Annex 9 – Facilitation, Chapter 8, Section G) ........................................................... 7
GUIDANCE MATERIAL FOR IMPLEMENTING THE
STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES
IN ANNEX 9 – FACILITATION
PERTAINING TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
1. Contracting States should encourage operators, airport authorities and travel agents to use common definitions
for the different categories of persons with disabilities. Such entities should follow the standard system of classification
and codification developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for this purpose.
2. Operators and airport authorities should consult with the organizations that represent persons with disabilities
when developing services and training programmes or when finding solutions for better serving persons with disabilities.
3. Immigration, customs and security operational procedures should be adapted to the needs of persons with
disabilities in order to facilitate the clearance of such persons in a dignified manner.
Communication of information
4. Contracting States should publish, or encourage operators or interested organizations to publish, general
information or guidance material relating to air travel by persons with disabilities. Such information should, where
practicable, be made available in alternative media such as braille, cassettes, large print or computer diskettes.
5. Operators, airport authorities, ground handling operators and travel agents should provide those persons with
disabilities who are planning to travel with all available information concerning access to air services and airport facilities
by disabled persons.
6. Operators and airport authorities should ensure they have the means to facilitate communication with travellers
who have sensory (deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low vision) or cognitive disabilities, and they should describe such
facilities in the public information materials referred to above.
7. Contracting States should encourage operators, airport authorities and travel agents to integrate information for
persons with disabilities into their general product literature or advertising.
8. Persons with disabilities requesting special assistance should be encouraged to inform the operator or the travel
agent of their needs at the time of booking their flight. Operators and/or travel agents should be encouraged to complete an
information checklist when taking bookings.
2 ICAO Circular 274-AT/114
9. In addition to general training, operators and airport authorities should ensure that their employees and
contractors who interact with the public, or make decisions regarding the carriage of persons with disabilities, receive
general sensitivity training to be able to identify and respond appropriately to the needs of such persons when they travel.
10. In addition to general training, operators and airport authorities should ensure that they properly train employees
and contractors who may be required to provide services to persons with disabilities, such as assisting with special
equipment, transferring individuals between and from wheelchairs, and guiding, orienting and aiding them.
11. In addition to general training, operators and airport authorities should ensure that they properly train employees
and contractors who are required to handle different types of mobility aids so that they are familiar with the procedures for
securing, carrying and stowing mobility aids, including methods of dismantling, and packing, unpacking and assembling
12. Operators and airport authorities should ensure that the employees and contractors referred to in 9, 10 and 11,
complete initial training before assuming their duties and periodically undergo further training.
13. Cabin crew training should be geared to familiarizing persons with disabilities with their immediate environment
and possible hazards within the cabin, and assisting them in the proper use of the facilities that are provided.
14. Training programmes and emergency procedures should include special provisions related to the evacuation of
persons with disabilities.
15. Organizations that represent persons with disabilities should be consulted in the development and
implementation of training programmes.
16. Operators and airport authorities should include in their operations manuals instructions indicating the type of
special assistance to be provided, according to the type of disability.
17. Contracting States should ensure that, from the first phase of planning, new plans for building or renovating
airport facilities open to the public meet the accessibility standards for persons with disabilities. In general, Contracting
States should refer to the relevant manuals of both ICAO' and the Airports Council International (ACI) for guidance on the
building and planning requirements that will ensure access by persons with disabilities.
18. Airport authorities should install volume-controlled, public telephones in both the public area and the
arrival/departure areas for travellers who are hearing-impaired.
1. Doc 9184 – Airport Planning Manua1 – Part 1, Master Planning
ICAO Circular 274-AT/114 3
19. Passenger walkways, including crossings to the terminal building, should be accessible to persons with
20. All areas in the terminal building that are open to the travelling public should include facilities designed in such a
way that persons with disabilities can reach them and use them without difficulty, in particular:
d) communication equipment; and
e) information and check-in counters.
21. Facilities reserved or designed for persons with disabilities should be appropriately indicated by signs that are in
accordance with internationally agreed standards. All other signs should take account of the needs of persons with
22. Contracting States should encourage airport authorities to provide a special handling service for persons with
a) staff trained and qualified to meet their needs, from their arrival at the airport until they are seated on board
the aircraft, and vice versa; and
b) the appropriate equipment to assist them.
23. Airport authorities, operators or ground handling operators should provide vehicles or equipment for the transport
of persons with disabilities within the airport.
24. Operators and airport authorities should be encouraged to provide a means of transport between airports so that
persons with disabilities can be transported at the same cost and in the same comfort and safety as other passengers.
25. Airport authorities should provide signage, in accordance with internationally agreed standards, indicating the
availability of accessible ground transportation services.
26. Airport authorities should encourage vehicle rental companies on their premises to make vehicles with hand
controls available to persons with disabilities.
ACCESS TO AIR SERVICES
27. Operator and travel agent offices should have information and service desks that are suitable for use by persons
4 ICAO Circular 274-AT/114
Physical accessibility of aircraft
28. Operators are encouraged to require new aircraft, or those undergoing major refurbishment, to meet the needs of
persons with disabilities. For example:
a) Signage should be positioned so as to avoid shadow areas and glare.
b) Lighting in an aircraft, except reading and other lighting under the control of a passenger, should be directed and
controlled to prevent glare or shadows. Lighting in the passenger cabin should not result in any sharp contrasts in
c) Integrated boarding stairs on an aircraft should have a uniform riser height, uniform tread depths and a height for the
first step on and the last step off that does not exceed the uniform riser height. Tread surfaces should be firm and non-
slippery and should not create glare. The top outer edge of each step should be marked by a contrasting colour strip,
and handrails should be provided on both sides.
d) Handrails should be sturdy, rounded, smooth, slip-resistant and colour-contrasted from their surrounding area,
should have an exterior diameter that permits easy grasping, should not have any obstructions that could break a
handhold, and should return to the wall or the head and foot of the stairs in a smooth curve.
e) Floor surfaces on an aircraft should be glare-free and slip-resistant.
f) Movable aisle armrests should be installed on a substantial number of seat rows.
g) Aircraft with more than one aisle should have at least one on-board wheelchair that can be moved about the
h) An on-board wheelchair should be designed to permit easy transfer of an occupant and easy manoeuvring of the
chair, with assistance, in the aircraft. It should have footrests, armrests that are movable or removable, a safety belt and
i) On aircraft with lavatories, at least one lavatory should be accessible to persons with disabilities.
29. Operators should ensure that services are provided to persons with disabilities when a request for such services is
made at least 48 hours prior to departure, and they should make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests not made
within this time limit. Services to be provided upon request should include:
assisting with registration at the check-in counter;
assisting in proceeding to the boarding area;
assisting in boarding and deplaning;
assisting in stowing and retrieving baggage;
assisting in moving to and from an aircraft lavatory;
assisting in proceeding to the general public area or, in some cases, to a representative of another operator;
transferring a person between the person's own mobility aid and a mobility aid provided by the operator;
transferring a person between a mobility aid and the person's passenger seat;
providing limited assistance with meals and inquiring periodically during a flight about a person's needs; and
briefing individual passengers with disabilities and their escorts on emergency procedures and the layout of
ICAO Circular 274-AT/114 5
30. Whenever possible, operators should indicate in the record of a person's reservation any services that the operator
will provide to that person, and they should also supply a written confirmation of such services.
31. When persons in wheelchairs who are not independently mobile are waiting to board an aircraft, operators and
airport or ground handling staff should inquire periodically about their needs.
32. Operators should ensure that instructions relating to special handling requests from persons with disabilities are
passed on to the cabin crew along with other special instructions. A list of the services that the operator had undertaken to
provide at the time of reservation should also be transmitted to the personnel assisting such persons.
33. When a person identifies the nature of his or her disability, an operator should inform the passenger of the
available seats that are most accessible and then establish with that passenger an appropriate seat assignment.
34. Operators should provide appropriate seating for persons with disabilities. However, such seating must not be in
an emergency exit row, which is defined as a row that provides direct access to an exit without going into an aisle.
35. Persons with disabilities and their escorts should, if they so request, be seated together or in other seating
arrangements of their choice.
36. If space permits, service animals carried in the cabin should be accommodated on the floor at the feet of the
person with the disability.
37. Persons with disabilities needing assistance should be boarded separately (normally prior to all other passengers)
and disembarked separately (normally after all other passengers). If requested, operators and airport authorities should
make arrangements for assisting persons with disabilities with outbound/inbound governmental clearance and with
38. Operators, airport authorities and ground handling operators should cooperate to ensure that, where practical,
persons who require wheelchairs may use their own wheelchairs to move to and from the aircraft door.
39. When stowage space permits, operators should allow the carriage of manually operated, folding wheelchairs and
small aids in the passenger cabin.
40. When wheelchairs cannot be carried in the passenger cabin, operators should fold them for carriage in the hold
and promptly unfold and return them at the passenger's destination.
41. Wheelchairs and mobility aids should be the last items to be stowed in the aircraft hold and the first items to be
42. Announcements to passengers concerning stops, delays, schedule changes, connections, onboard services and
claiming of baggage should be made both visually and verbally to persons with disabilities who request such a service.
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STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES
PERTAINING TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Extract from Annex 9 – Facilitation, Chapter 8
G. Facilitation of the transport of
passengers requiring special assistance
8.22 Recommended Practice.– When travelling, persons with disabilities should be provided with special assistance in
order to ensure that they receive services customarily available to the general public. Such assistance includes the
offering of information and directions in media which can be understood by travellers with cognitive or sensory
8.23 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should co-operate with a view to taking the necessary measures to
make accessible to persons with disabilities all the elements of the chain of the person's journey, from beginning to end.
8.24 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should take the necessary steps with airlines, airports and ground
handling operators to establish minimum uniform standards of accessibility with respect to transportation services for
persons with disabilities, from arrival at the airport of departure to leaving the airport of destination.
8.25 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should take the necessary steps with airlines, airports, ground
handling operators and travel agencies to ensure that persons with disabilities are given the information they need, and
should take the necessary steps to ensure that airlines, airports, ground handling operators and travel agencies are in a
position to give those passengers the assistance necessary for them, depending on their needs, to help them in their travel.
8.26 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should take all necessary steps to secure the co-operation of
operators, airports and ground handling operators in order to establish and co-ordinate training programmes to ensure
that trained personnel are available to assist persons with disabilities.
II. Access to airports
8.27 Contracting States shall take the necessary steps to ensure that airport facilities and services are adapted to the needs
of persons with disabilities.
8.28 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should ensure that lifting systems or any other appropriate devices
are made available in order to facilitate the movement of elderly and disabled passengers between the aircraft and the
terminal on both arrival and departure as required where telescopic passageways are not used.
8 ICAO Circular 274-AT/114
8.29 Recommended Practice.– Measures should be taken to ensure that the hearing- and vision-impaired are able to
obtain flight information.
8.30 Recommended Practice.– For elderly and disabled persons being set down or picked up at a terminal building,
reserved points should be located as close as possible to main entrances. To facilitate movement to the various areas of
the airport, access routes should be free of obstacles.
8.31 Recommended Practice.– Where access to public services is limited, every effort should be made to provide
accessible and reasonably priced ground transportation services by adapting current and planned public transit systems
or by providing special transport services for people with mobility needs.
8.32 Recommended Practice.– Adequate parking facilities should be provided for people with mobility needs and
appropriate measures taken to facilitate their movement between parking areas and the terminal buildings.
8.33 Recommended Practice.– Direct transfer from one aircraft to another of passengers, particularly elderly and
disabled passengers, should be authorized, where necessary and possible, whenever this is warranted by deadlines in
making connecting flights or by other circumstances.
III. Access to air services
8.34 Contracting States shall take the necessary steps to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate access to air
8.35 Recommended Practice.– Contracting States should introduce provisions by which aircraft coming newly into
service or after major refurbishment should conform to minimum uniform standards of accessibility with respect to
equipment on board aircraft which would include movable armrests, on-board wheelchairs, lavatories and suitable
lighting and signs.
8.36 Recommended Practice.– Wheelchairs, special apparatus and equipment required by persons with disabilities
should be carried free of charge in the cabin where, in the view of the airline, space and safety requirements permit or
should be designated as priority baggage. Service animals accompanying passengers with disabilities should also be
carried free of charge in the cabin, subject to the application of any relevant national or airline regulations.
8.37 Recommended Practice.– In principle, persons with disabilities should be permitted to determine whether or not
they need an escort and to travel without the requirement for a medical clearance. However, advance notice should be
mandatory where assistance or lifting is required. Airlines should only be permitted to require passengers with disabilities
to obtain a medical clearance in cases of medical condition where it is clear that their safety or well-being or that of other
passengers cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, airlines should only be permitted to require an escort when it is clear that
a person with disabilities is not self-reliant and, as such, the safety or well-being of that person or that of another
passenger cannot be guaranteed.
8.38 Recommended Practice.– If the presence of an escort is required, Contracting States should encourage airlines to
offer discounts for the carriage of that accompanying person.
– END –
ICAO PUBLICATIONS IN THE
AIR TRANSPORT FIELD
The following summary gives the status and also describes in general terms the contents of the
various series of publications in the air transport field issued by the International Civil
International Standards and Recommended Practices on Facilitation (designated as
Annex 9 to the Convention) which are adopted by the Council in accordance with Articles 37,
54 and 90 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The uniform observance of the
specifications contained in the International Standards on Facilitation is recognized as
practicable and as necessary to facilitate and improve some aspect of international air
navigation, while the observance of any specification contained in the Recommended Practices
is recognized as generally practicable and as highly desirable to facilitate and improve some
aspect of international air navigation. Any differences between the national regulations and
practices of a State and those established by an International Standard must be notified to the
Council in accordance with Article 38 of the Convention. The Council has also invited
Contracting States to notify differences from the provisions of the Recommended Practices;
Council Statements on policy relating to air transport questions, such as charges for airports
and air navigation services, taxation and aims in the field of facilitation;
Digests of Statistics which are issued on a regular basis, presenting the statistical information
received from Contracting States on their civil aviation activities;
Circulars providing specialized information of interest to Contracting States. They include
studies on trends in the air transport industry at a global and regional level and specialized
studies of a worldwide nature;
Manuals providing information or guidance to Contracting States on such questions as airport
and air navigation facility tariffs, air traffic forecasting techniques and air transport statistics.
Also of interest to Contracting States are reports of meetings in the air transport field, such as
sessions of the Facilitation Division and the Statistics Division and conferences on the
economics of airports and air navigation facilities. Supplements to these reports are issued,
indicating the action taken by the Council on the meeting recommendations, many of which are
addressed to Contracting States.