Aviation Industry Under Scrutiny for Lack of Equality

April 12, 2018

The aviation sector is under the spotlight yet again regarding its generally poor customer experience for those people with reduced mobility (PRM).

It is worth noting that there are ground handling products and wheelchairs available to improve access and provide a much more all-inclusive and dignified experience. What is more, the majority of other sectors and public buildings have to comply and offer access for the disabled, so why is aviation the exception?

At Aviramp, we manufacture a unique suite of patented boarding ramps and bridges to negate the use of high-risk air stairs and even reduce the need for ambulift. Thus providing a safe, streamlined and dignified boarding and deplaning experience for all PRMs. As an established provider of  innovative ground support equipment, we are gradually growing market share here in the UK, although we have been servicing other global markets for many years such as the USA, Carribean, South/Central America, Australia, Japan, Scandinavia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and UAE. The shift in the UK from remote stand steps to ramp, has been a much slower process, possibly down to reluctance for change? After all 90 percent of our business is exported; servicing airports and airlines overseas. So why is the UK so slow to catch up?

Interestingly, Avinor in Norway have embraced our mobile ramps not only due to their versatility and greater efficiency, but also largely due to changes in legislation that states ramps should always be implemented wherever possible to fulfil their mandate to deliver equality in all sectors. So accessibility is factored into all industry types in Norway. Aviation included.

So why aren’t we seeing more of this type of equipment being trialled and implemented, especially here in the UK? I guess this is a question for the airports, airlines and handlers to address, in the light of some rather damning evidence from passengers. Our experience in implementing mobile ramps and bridges has been seamless. The handlers welcome the change given their ease of use, and all passengers feed back that their experience has been far less stressful, much more dignified and respectful; as well as much quicker too, no doubt to the delight of airlines and airports who need to maintain their turnaround times.

We work with ground handling companies, airports and airlines and all are influencers in the decision making process, they are our customers, and rather than criticising them, we are keen to take this rather negative feed back and work with these stakeholders to create more effective solutions. To simply remind the industry, that there are alternative methods available. If this negative coverage prompts the industry and government to initiate that ‘conversation’, then something positive may well ensue? Maybe discussions on legislation as per Norway’s example? Or scrutiny of E1107? Who knows?

So for a low-risk investment, to deliver a smooth operation and improve passenger experience, alongside this recent stream of negative media coverage and passenger anecdotal feed back, surely it is time for the industry to review its operations and systems, and consider mobile ramps as a real alternative to existing equipment, and introduce these ground support products as an industry standard?

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