Earlier this week, the Department for Transport launched new training aimed at airport ground handlers to ensure mobility equipment is being handled correctly and minimising damage to vital mobility aids.

British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) members, OttoBock and eFoldi, took part in creating the training video and supplying the equipment that was used in the guidance demonstration.

The training video titled “It’s my legs – Why handling wheelchairs with care matters”, uses impactful personal experiences to emphasise why it is crucial to handle wheelchairs, powerchairs and other mobility equipment with care.

David Stockdale, CEO at BHTA, said: “At BHTA, we have heard some really concerning examples of mobility equipment being damaged during air travel, which then negatively impacts a person’s holiday or business trip. We believe that it is essential that everyone can travel with confidence.

“BHTA is proud to have supported this new government training initiative and would like to thank our members OttoBock and eFoldi for providing the equipment used. This training will go a long way towards enhancing the experience of mobility aid users during air travel.”

The training video has been published as part of the Department for Transport’s “REAL person, REAL passenger” disability awareness training package, along with guidance featuring top tips from the video. The training can be accessed for free here: https://bit.ly/3NmAEKs

Tanvi Vyas, Aviation group lead at the Disabled People’s Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), said: “When equipment is damaged, this doesn’t just scupper the short-term plans of the trip itself. An understanding of the longer-term impact physically, emotionally and financially is really important. This is why I hope offering free REAL training and the creation of a ground handlers training video raises the bar, enhances existing knowledge and sharpens minds to understand the gravity of the situation when damage occurs.

“The training aims to reinforce the importance of diligence and care by sharing the real-life impact of damage.”

The BHTA website also hosts an Air Transport Information page, where it has collected and collated useful information about powered mobility products manufactured around the globe to make sure mobility equipment is being handled properly.

New plans from the UK Government also include implementing stronger enforcement powers for the regulator and access to faster and cheaper dispute resolution to help improve standards for passengers with mobility equipment on flights operating to and from the UK, increasing passenger confidence and boosting the aviation sector.

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