Africa World Airlines is the latest of Ghana’s airlines to discriminate against people with a disability by reason of such disability.
Last Tuesday, Ndifreke Andrews-Essien, an intern for the Ghana based NGO SEND-Ghana was left stranded at Kotoka International Airport in Accra after staff of Africa World Airlines refused to let her on the plane on the ground of her disability.
Staff told the Nigerian woman, who had just flown in from Lagos, that the airline rules did not allow them to accept wheelchair bound passengers.
Africa World Airlines was not available for comments. On its website the carrier states “transport of customers with disabilities of any kind unless there is a specific safety-related regulation that requires us not to do so.”
AWA also states that “transport of wheelchairs and other assistance devices for personal use at no charge. We also offer enplaning, deplaning and changing flights.”
Reduced Mobility Rights understands that, contrary to what stated on the airline’s website, AWA accepts to board passengers with reduced mobility only if they can get on and off the plane without assistance.
Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive of SEND-Ghana branded AWA’s decision to refuse boarding as gross discrimination against persons with disability.
Africa World Airlines is one of three Ghana’s carriers being sued by the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled for discriminating against people with disabilities. Antrak and Aero Surveys –Starbow are the other two airlines mentioned in the lawsuit.
GSPD is also suing Ghana Civil Aviation Authority for refusing to ensure that the African nation’s airports and airlines comply with Section 28 (1) of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).
“We have been closely monitoring the talks between the GSPD and the defendants,” Reduced Mobility Rights founder Roberto Castiglioni said. “We think time has come for President Mahama to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana by reminding the air travel industry Ghana no longer tolerates discrimination against people with disabilities.”