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CCS Dispute Against Air NZ Not Over

31 August 2005

CCS Dispute Against Air NZ Not Over

CCS believes the Human Rights complaint it laid against Air New Zealand surrounding its treatment of wheelchair users on domestic flights has not been fully resolved through mediation and will be taking the complaint further.

In 2004 Air New Zealand changed their policy regarding wheelchair users who were unable to transfer from wheelchair to seat, leading to a complaint being laid to the Human Rights Commission.

"This change in policy affected not just those it was aimed at. People who had a greater level of mobility were caught up in the change in policy too and continue to be," said Viv Maidaborn, CEO of CCS. Since the complaint was laid, a mediation process has taken place. This has led Air New Zealand to make significant changes, including a staff training video and the introduction tomorrow of the Eagle lifting device. The device will assist many disabled passengers to transfer from a wheel/aisle chair to a jet aircraft seat and vice versa.

"As we see it the complaint is only partially resolved. This equipment is only being introduced to some airports, immediately leaving 30% of disabled passengers without the Eagle lifting device or an Air New Zealand staff member to assist with transfer. This is exactly the position these travellers were in before mediation," Viv Maidaborn said.

"We certainly acknowledge Air New Zealand's commitment to a Disability Awareness programme that has taken a very broad approach, however, we believe they have missed the basic issue of human rights. Right now for 30% of disabled passengers Air New Zealand are still putting unreasonable restrictions on their ability to have independent and unsupported travel, and for that reason we will pursue our complaint with the Commission."

ENDS


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