In a proactive effort to bring the industry together to advance open dialogue for a more disability-inclusive air transport system, Emirates will be hosting the International Air Transport Association (IATA) inaugural Global Accessibility Symposium, taking place in Dubai from 5-6 November 2019.
The IATA Global Accessibility Symposium furthers the commitment of the resolution on passengers with disabilities which was made at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul in June 2019. The resolution aims to improve the air travel experience for the estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide by encouraging governments, airlines, airports and stakeholders across the aviation industry to work together to ensure access to a safe, reliable and dignified travel experience.
Acknowledging that initiatives of this magnitude need to be a collaboration between all stakeholders, this event is part of an industry strategy to engage with policy-makers and operators, draw on the extensive knowledge of specialised advocacy groups and organisations, and understand how technology can play a role in furthering accessibility. Additionally, the aim is to tap into the experiences of travellers with disabilities to understand their needs and how the aviation industry can best assist them.
The invitation-only event will include keynotes, panel discussions and fireside chats that will tackle a wide variety of accessibility topics.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “Emirates employs every effort to make air travel as comfortable and as seamless as possible for our customers, especially for those with special needs and disabilities. We continue to listen to feedback from our customers, employees and advocates, and we are on our own journey in taking a joined-up approach across all of our touchpoints to develop improved services and solutions and provide the consistency that travellers with disabilities expect.
As an industry, we need to do more through championing a multifaceted approach to accessibility, and working with our industry partners to make bigger strides in responding to the diversity of disabilities, the multiplicity of access needs, and unique travel circumstances of an aging travel population. This is just the beginning of the journey. The end game is to remove barriers, build policy frameworks, and implement concrete actions to advance universal accessibility. It is apt for the first IATA symposium on this important issue to be held in Dubai, as it’s the city’s aim to become one of the world’s most accessible cities for People of Determination and Emirates is proud to play a role to help advance this dialogue.”
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA said: “The unanimous resolution by our airline members in June was a clear indication that the industry is committed to improving the air travel experience for passengers with disabilities. Air transport provides unparalleled opportunities and all travellers, no matter what their disability, deserve access to this freedom.
Industry standards have made air transport accessible to passengers with disabilities for decades. But we recognize that more needs to be done to ensure the seamless journey that we owe our customers. The Global Accessibility Symposium marks a renewed and stronger dialogue between industry, advocacy groups, regulators and the travellers themselves. Together we will learn from one another and look to improve.”
As the host city of the first IATA Global Accessibility Symposium and the hub for Emirates Airline, Dubai is moving forward with its mission in becoming one of the world’s most accessible cities for people with disabilities, ahead of it hosting Expo Dubai 2020. Dubai has been implementing plans across the city to ensure that buildings, pavements, roads, all modes of public transport as well as public areas are barrier-free for people with different types of disabilities.