According to news reports, The government is going to make it mandatory for airlines to allow visually impaired people to board aircraft with their guide dogs.
While the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) had allowed this facility some years back, airlines continue to flout it with impunity. Now the regulator is coming out with new rules for both airlines and airport operators. The regulator will also make it imperative for carriers to have emergency procedure brochures in braille script as backup, the report stated.
“Airlines shall develop procedures for carriage of guide dogs, if required in cabin…. Passengers carrying guide dogs shall be required to produce a written proof to the airlines that their guide dog has been trained from appropriate institution, vaccinated and medicated,” the proposed new civil aviation requirement says. Passengers with disability will also have to inform the airline of special needs at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time.
“No airline shall refuse to carry persons with disability or reduced mobility and their assistive aids/devices, escorts and guide dogs including their presence in the cabin provided (the airline is informed in advance) at time of booking,” the proposal says.
The report further stated that the DGCA plans to make it mandatory for airlines to have provisions on their websites so passengers with disability can select the required facilities at the time of booking itself. The regulator may also cap the number of persons with special needs on a single flight corresponding to the number of cabin crew.