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Please provide transfer hoists for disabled passengers at Manchester Airport

This petition had 8,272 supporters

Manchester Airport is one of the busiest airports in the UK, yet they still do not have a hoisting solution for their disabled passengers. This is something which their two main competitors, Heathrow and Gatwick, have already achieved.

Hoists are essential for many disabled people to allow them to be transferred safely, comfortably and with dignity.

When my younger brother has to travel by plane he- like many other disabled people- has to be dragged onto the dreaded aisle chair, transferred and dragged again into his seat. This long process would be uncomfortable for anyone, but for many disabled people it is downright painful.

The ‘dragging’ is usually done by (well-meaning!) airport staff. This kind of man-handling by strangers is obviously humiliating and uncomfortable, not only that; it is also unsafe. He usually gets injured somehow during the whole exhausting process.

These experiences are not unique to my family. In Review of Disability Studies [1] Mike Oliver writes that whilst being heaved into his seat the ‘dragging’ pulls down his trousers and exposes him to the rest of the passengers. After describing the rest of his ordeal, he writes, ‘Once I am in bed I find that I have severe lacerations and bruising to my buttocks. It takes me several hours before I am able to stop shaking.’ *

Why this is still seen as acceptable I have no idea.

In 2008 Christopher Stott’s chair tipped over during transfer onto a Thomas Cook plane, causing him to fall to the floor. Being paralysed from the shoulders down, he required help to get back up, but found that staff could not adequately help him [2]. These kinds of stories are everywhere.

This lack of provision means that many disabled people do not or cannot fly. It’s bad enough that my little brother can’t access the toilets on planes, but the fact that he is even excluded from getting on in the first place is even more distressing.

These barriers exclude so many people, BUT there is a simple solution! Transfer hoists would allow so many more disabled people to get out and see the world and to have the same opportunities as their able-bodied counterparts!

And hoists are not only a necessity for many disabled passengers; they’re also more time-efficient than the current systems, meaning airlines have quicker turnaround times.

Virgin Atlantic recognise that these hoists are vital for many of their disabled passengers and have been contacting Manchester Airport, but they have also been ignored. However, airlines such as Thomson, Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways have failed to support the use of these hoists at Manchester Airport.

It is time that these airlines, the airport and OCS realise just how vital these hoists are for so many people and how urgent it is that they get them. I hope that this petition will mean that Manchester Airport, OCS and the airlines finally commit to helping their disabled passengers.

* The Spinal Injuries Association (who recommended the use of transfer hoists at all UK airports in a Civil Aviation Authority consultation back in 2009 [3]) list injuries sustained whilst being transferred as one of the most common complaints of their members. They write that these injuries may lead a person to develop pressure sores, ‘which may lead to months of bed rest, surgery... or even death. That these problems are easily avoidable [by using a transfer hoist] is of great concern to our members.’

The article can be downloaded in PDF, Word or text formats. Mike Oliver’s account begins at the bottom of pg. 3 and ends on pg. 5 in PDF format.



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