Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Israeli airline adds accessible planes

From Ha'aretz Magazine in Israel:

Israir will incorporate disability access into three of its new Airbus planes as part of an initiative to improve customers' air travel experience, representatives of the airliner and an advocacy organization announced yesterday.

"Israir is currently designing its seats so that it is easier for disabled persons to stand up and sit down, easier for them to use the toilets, and the company is purchasing special wheelchairs that can be used in the aisles," said Israir Director General Yisrael Ben Haim.

The three new A-320 Airbus planes will be delivered in 2010. Ben Haim added that Israir stewards and ground staff will undergo periodical training on serving disabled persons, including how to maximize the customers' comfort.

Some 40,000 disabled people use air travel each year," Dr. Avi Ramot, a senior official of Shekel, Community Services for People with Special Needs, said July 29. "Making these planes accessible to these passengers is very important. We commend Israir for its decision to work with us and make it easier for disabled persons and those with special needs to travel."

Shekel was founded in 1979, and helps thousands of people with special needs in fields including accommodation, sports, education and medical treatment.