Airports urged to obtain ambulifts

HA NOI - The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam yesterday urged airline services to study and quickly add ambulifts to their equipment, if needed.

Ambulifts can carry wheelchairs and help people with disabilities to reach the aircraft from the bus and vice versa.

The CAAV asked the Airports Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV) to re-examine airports that lacked ambulifts and to formulate plans to obtain the equipment before April 13.

Vo Huy Cuong, deputy head of CAAV, said the shortage of ambulifts at airports was quite prevalent as they cost up to VND5 billion (S$230,000) each.

Cuong said airport employees and staff must support passengers with disabilities to board flights if no ambulifts were available.

"Passengers with limited mobility may not be allowed to board just because there is no equipment to help carry them," he said.

Last week, two employees of low-cost carrier VietJet Air received the highest civil penalty of VND5 million for refusing to help a disabled passenger.

On April 2, Nguyen Thi Van posted on her Facebook page that she was denied permission to board her flight from Da Nang to Ha Noi because she had a severe disability and could not move on her own.

The two employees said Van failed to notify the airline about her request for assistance.

Van, whose legs are paralysed, did not have any problem when she boarded the Ha Noi flight to Da Nang. She bought another ticket to return to Ha Noi on a Vietnam Airlines flight at 10pm, four hours after the VietJet Air flight.

According to the ACV, only international airports such as Noi Bai, Da Nang, Tan Son Nhat, Phu Quoc and Lien Khuong are equipped with ambulifts.