The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released the results of its Global Passenger Survey (GPS) 2023, related to the accessibility of air transport for passengers with disabilities, showing significant levels of satisfaction among travelers who used these services.
The figures showed that 80% of travelers who used special assistance stated that their expectations were met.
“In 2019, IATA’s Annual General Assembly adopted a resolution that reflects our members’ commitment to ensuring that all travelers have access to safe, reliable and dignified travel,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s deputy director general and corporate secretary.
He said the survey also aligned with airlines’ experience that more and more travelers are requesting assistance.
“With the aging population in many key air transport markets, this trend is likely to continue and aviation, like many other industries, will struggle to find the resources to serve this important demographic,” he noted.
He acknowledged that as the demand for special assistance grows, more customized ways will need to be found to meet the needs of travelers with special abilities.
Currently, such a request is almost always met with wheelchair services, but the traveler may also need help finding his or her way around crowded airports, or just have difficulty climbing stairs, or be fully mobile and visually impaired.
“We are working on ways to ensure that wheelchairs are available when needed, as well as the right options for the diversity of travelers’ needs,” commented Linda Ristagno, deputy director of external affairs for the international agency.
The survey also highlighted website accessibility as an area for improvement, with 20% of users indicating that the accessibility of online booking portals should be a priority.
As a result, IATA published guidance material to ensure that airline websites provide easy access to all necessary information for travelers with disabilities.