PM David Cameron confessed his frustration because changes are “not happening as fast as I would like” before the liaison committee of senior MPs.
Unfortunately, disabled passengers traveling by air share Mr Cameron's anger. While the PM laments that changes are not happening fast enough, passengers with reduced mobility complain about changes not happening at all.
In the year when the United Kingdom hosts the 2012 Paralympics, the rights of disabled passengers have proven unenforceable.
The Civil Aviation Authority complains that enforcement powers of the EU legislation protecting the rights of disabled passengers are limited. "Unfortunately, [enforcement] powers are not very flexible or proportionate and make it difficult for us to take action," Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority said.
Gordon Brown's government failed to provide the Civil Aviation Authority with civil enforcement powers at a time (2008) when most EU member states did so. David Cameron's coalition government has done nothing to correct this situation.
Personal recourse for passengers with reduced mobility who think they have been humiliated or discriminated has been denied by a recent ruling of the Court of Appeal.
"In its ruling, the High Court considered that there is no support for the proposition that Regulation 1107/2006 creates a private law cause of action for which damages could be sought, and upheld the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention in relation to the provision of compensation for disabled people on board an aircraft," Helen Kearns, spokesperson for the EU Transport Commissioner told Reduced Mobility Rights. "The services of the Commission agree that Regulation 1107/2006 does not override the Montreal Convention."
Disabled passengers frustration grows as the Department for Transport appears to ignore the calls of the EU commission and the CAA to provide the authority with civil enforcement powers.
"The Department for Transport (DfT) is currently in discussion with the CAA and is considering complementing those criminal penalties with appropriate civil sanctions. The [EU] Commission is closely following this issue and is, like you, of the opinion that this is highly advisable in order to have full respect of the Regulation," the EU Transport Commissioner said.
Unfortunately, what the EU Commission is unaware of is that these alleged discussions have been going on for over one year without producing any change.
What does the lack of enforcement powers involve? When a motorist is caught speeding, he or she will receive a sanction and may have points struck off his/her driving license. In most serious cases, the motorist will receive a driving ban.
When someone uses racially offensive language, he/she may be criminally prosecuted and end up in prison.
When able bodied passengers have their flights severely delayed or cancelled they are entitled to relief and monetary compensation.
However, when a disabled passenger is thrown off a flight because of his condition after having been humiliated in front of all other passengers, nothing happened.
This is, in summary, today's view of how rights of disabled passengers are safeguarded and enforced in the country hosting the 2012 Paralympics.
"Does No 10 have a role in trying to drive the change and also examine the results of this? I think yes, that is an important role,” PM David Cameron said. “As team captain, you are allowed to dive in to departments and make your views known."
Time to dive in, Prime Minister. It is time for the team Captain to help ease the frustration of disabled passengers. It is time to give Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Transport, the wake-up call. Her department's inaction has to stop.
I am sure this exercise will help reduce Mr Cameron's frustration too.