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ACI EUROPE Publishes Guide for Passengers with Hidden Disabilities

Europe’s airports put the needs of passengers with hidden disabilities center stage with inaugural guidance.

ACI EUROPE, the association that advocates for European airports, has unveiled comprehensive guidelines to better assist passengers with hidden disabilities. Recent statistics from Eurostat reveal approximately one in four adults in the EU has a disability, with 80% being non-visible.

Schiphol Airport
Schiphol Airport

Until this point, airports grouped individuals with hidden disabilities within the broader spectrum of passengers in need of assistance. These tailored guidelines mark a significant shift towards acknowledging and understanding the unique needs of these travelers. ACI EUROPE’s initiative reflects the growing emphasis on accessibility and inclusivity in the travel industry. It ensures airports meet passenger needs with the highest level of consideration, especially those with non-visible conditions.

Building upon European airports support for vulnerable travelers, the guidelines bolster ACI EUROPE’s commitment to enhancing passenger experience. The Facilitation & Customer Services Committee has been pivotal in shaping these insights.

The newly published “Assisting Passengers with Non-Visible Disabilities” manual is an essential resource, enabling airports to comprehend the diverse spectrum of hidden disabilities and overcome travel barriers. It underscores the importance of carefully managing sensitive passenger information to deliver optimal care during their journey. By heightening disability awareness and tailoring services, airports are championing the fundamental rights to free movement and non-discrimination, principles deeply rooted in EU law.

Olivier Jankovec, the Director General of ACI EUROPE, remarked, “Travel is a fundamental right for all, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that airports across Europe remain accessible to everyone. This document serves as a guiding light for airport managing bodies and their stakeholders, offering practical guidance on how to assist passengers with non-visible disabilities in an empathetic and respectful manner. Together, we can make air travel more inclusive, ensuring that every passenger’s journey is marked by dignity, respect, and equal access to the wonders of our world.”

Practical Case Studies On Airport Accessibility

ACI EUROPE’s focus on accessible and inclusive air travel isn’t new. It has been a core value, substantiated through collaborations with key groups like the European Disability Forum (EDF). ACI EUROPE and EDF’s partnership. The Accessible Airport Award recognizes European airports that excel in accessibility initiatives. ACI EUROPE actively engages with European Institutions and member states to promote the rights of all travelers.

The latest guidance assembles practical case studies from ACI EUROPE members and partners. They include Aena, Athens International Airport, Dublin Airport, London Gatwick Airport, ENAC, and Manchester Airport.

Download ACI EUROPE Passengers with Hidden Disabilities Guide

For those interested in advancing airport accessibility, the “Assisting Passengers with Non-Visible Disabilities” guide is available for download. It’s a step forward, ensuring everyone can travel freely and enjoy the beauty our world has to offer.

1 Eurostat: Self -perceived long-standing limitations in usual activities due to health problems
2 Publications: ACI EUROPE Guidelines for Passenger Services at European Airports – 2nd EDITION and ACI EUROPE Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience at Airports
Regulation EC 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
Memorandum of Understanding between ACI EUROPE and the European Disability Forum

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