By S. PUSPADEVI
SEVERAL associations and NGOs representing the disabled community gathered to express their disappointment over AirAsia’s move to not use aerobridges at KLIA2, saying that the facility was necessary to ease mobility.
Danny Tan, chief coordinator for the Shuang Fu Disabled Independent Living Association said aerobridges were necessary for the disabled as it not only eases mobility, but enhances safety, security and comfort for all passengers.
Suffering from a disorder called muscular dystrophy, Danny, who is wheelchair-bound, stressed that it was never easy for him to get on to an ambulift due to his fragile condition.
“When I returned from China earlier this year, it rained heavily when the plane touched down at the LCCT and the crew told me that the ambulift was not available, and asked if they could carry me.
“This can be dangerous due to my condition and it is very problematic as only my wife knew how to lift me,” said Tan, who flies four to fives times a year.
Meanwhile, Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory president V. Murugeswaran said aerobridges were necessary, especially when it rains.
“We would like to thank Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for listening and taking our needs into consideration by building aerobridges,” he told reporters during a press conference held at the Damai Disabled Association in Jalan Carey, Petaling Jaya on Dec 10.
“The Government should make it mandatory for all airlines, including budget air carriers, to use aerobridges at airports,” Murugeswaran said, adding that ambulifts were not a solution to their problems as it can be a hassle and dangerous to the disabled.
The disabled community, including Barrier-free Environment and Accessible Transport (BEAT) has held two protests (in August and October), asking MAHB and the Government to build aerobridges in the new airport terminal.
On Nov 29, MAHB confirmed that the new LCCT in Sepang (KLIA2), which is scheduled to be completed in April 2013, will include 80 aerobridges.
The StarBiz on Nov 30 reported that AirAsia boss Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had said the airline will not use the aerobridges at KLIA2 even though MAHB will build them for the new low-cost air terminal.