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Amendments to Air Code Seek to Protect Disabled Passengers

Carriers and airports in Russia may soon be prohibited from refusing service to passengers with reduced capabilities.

The draft bill "On Amending the Air Code of the Russian Federation," which establishes a list of services to which such passengers are entitled, may be passed by the State Duma this week and come into effect this year, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Tuesday.

If the proposed amendments are implemented, airports and airlines will be required to provide special equipment for assisting people with reduced capabilities.

Carriers will no longer be able to refuse service to people with disabilities by citing a lack of special equipment.

The current Air Code allows air carriers to refuse service to passengers that require special care on the grounds of their health condition or potential danger to other passengers.

The required equipment may include not only wheelchairs: Airports may also be required to install special lifts to help disabled passengers board planes.

Moreover, airports and carriers will have to provide specially trained staff to help disabled people on all stages of their journey.

The bill would also require passengers with reduced capabilities and their travel companions to notify airlines about their planned travel. That information will be entered into a data base and shown on disabled passengers' tickets.

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