The wait on when guidelines for the application of Regulation 1107/2006 will be published is almost over, the EU Commission confirmed.
"We would like to thank you for your detailed comments on the application of Regulation 1107/2006," Jean Louis Colson, Head of Unit of the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission said. "Your contribution has been a valuable input in the context of the preparation of guidelines for the application of this regulation."
Mr Colson makes reference to a list of clarification suggestions made by Reduced Mobility Rights Editor-in-Chief submitted to the EU Transport Cabinet at the end of January 2012. Suggestions were made from the user’s perspective, and are based on personal experience of traveling as a carer for a person with reduced mobility.
"These draft guidelines have been discussed at a meeting with the Air Passenger Rights Consultative Group, which is composed of national enforcement bodies on one hand and stakeholders (industry representatives, representatives for consumers, users, and PRM associations at European level) on the other which has taken place on 16 February 2012. It is expected that the final text of these guidelines will be published in May 2012."
"In April 2011, the Commission has published Communication (2011) 166 on the functioning and effects of Regulation 1107," A spokesperson for the EU Transport Cabinet said. "The Communication comes to the conclusion that overall implementation of the Regulation is satisfactory and will continue to improve in the future."
Communication 2011/166 highlighted difficulties related to the obligations of airports and airlines alike.
With regard to airports, the Commission found the quality of the service provided, and its adaptation to the individual needs of persons of reduced mobility is sometimes lacking. The need to provide better information to passengers is identified as one of the Regulation's weakest points of implementation, as well as handling of mobility equipment.
With regard to airlines, the Commission highlighted problems with restrictions on accepting reservations from or embarking persons of reduced mobility on the grounds of safety, issues related to in-flight assistance (in particular assistance in moving to toilet facilities), and problems related to the transport and handling of mobility equipment.
"In its role as coordinator and supervisor, the Commission has proposed a number of actions to further improve the application of the Regulation within the existing framework. Thus, the Commission will further stimulate the cooperation within the NEB network, which has now been formally established as APR expert group," the EU Transport Cabinet explained.
In most cases, National Enforcement Bodies are the member state's Civil Aviation Authority. While most CAAs have adequate enforcement powers, this is not the case with the UK CAA.
"Furthermore, the Commission is currently cooperating with NEBs and stakeholders on the establishment of guidelines to facilitate and improve the application of the Regulation for NEBs and stakeholders. These guidelines will be adopted before the Paralympic Games in July 2012."