Australian Access Suit Against Virgin Blue
VIRGIN Blue, whose founder, Richard Branson, overcame a disability, faces a human rights complaint over the airline's new requirements governing disabled passengers.
The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations said it lodged a complaint with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission yesterday on grounds the airline was breaching public transport access provisions.
Maurice Corcoran, the group's president, said Virgin Blue was requiring disabled passengers who could not get to the toilet on their own or look after themselves in an emergency, to provide a carer.
Mr Corcoran said the policy, to take effect tomorrow, was disappointing given that Mr Branson had "overcome a significant disability - dyslexia".
The Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said standards for public transport required airlines to ensure "equivalent access" to disabled passengers through direct assistance where reasonable.
A Virgin Blue spokeswoman, Amanda Bulger, yesterday blamed the outcry from disabled groups on misinformation and confusion.