Appeal court to rule on airport wheelchair charge

The Court of Appeal is to rule on whether airlines or airports have a duty to provide wheelchairs for disabled passengers.

Budget carrier Ryanair appealed against a court ruling in January that airlines it was the airline’s responsibility.

Bob Ross from Islington, north London, was awarded £1,336 compensation after he challenged an £18 charge to use a wheelchair at Stansted Airport.

He was supported in his case by the Disability Rights Commission, which is seeking compensation in 35 similar cases.

In its defence, Ryanair said it had not charged Ross for the wheelchair and pusher – it was the airport’s owner, BAA, which had charged.

The airline was found to have breached the Disability Discrimination Act.

At the appeal hearing in November Ryanair said it was prepared to absorb the cost of paying for someone to push a wheelchair through the airport, though it said this meant that the airline would make a loss.

Ryanair has added a surcharge of 35p to tickets because of the ruling.

But the airline believes that the owner of the building is responsible for access for disabled people.

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