49 CFR 27.72 - Boarding assistance for aircraft.

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§ 27.72 Boarding assistance for aircraft.

(a) This section applies to airports with 10,000 or more annual enplanements.

(b) Airports shall, in cooperation with carriers serving the airports, provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities using mechanical lifts, ramps, or other devices that do not require employees to lift or carry passengers up stairs. This section applies to all aircraft with a passenger capacity of 19 or more passenger seats, except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section. Paragraph (c) of this section applies to U.S. carriers and paragraph (d) of this section applies to foreign carriers.

(c) Each airport operator shall negotiate in good faith with each U.S. carrier serving the airport concerning the acquisition and use of boarding assistance devices to ensure the provision of mechanical lifts, ramps, or other devices for boarding and deplaning where level-entry loading bridges are not available. The airport operator must have a written, signed agreement with each U.S. carrier allocating responsibility for meeting the boarding and deplaning assistance requirements of this section between or among the parties. The agreement shall be made available, on request, to representatives of the Department of Transportation.

(1) All airport operators and U.S. carriers involved are jointly and severally responsible for the timely and complete implementation of the agreement.

(2) The agreement shall ensure that all lifts and other accessibility equipment are maintained in proper working condition.

(d) Each airport operator shall negotiate in good faith with each foreign carrier serving the airport concerning the acquisition and use of boarding assistance devices to ensure the provision of mechanical lifts, ramps, or other devices for boarding and deplaning where level-entry loading bridges are not available. The airport operator shall, by no later than November 3, 2015, sign a written agreement with the foreign carrier allocating responsibility for meeting the boarding and deplaning assistance requirements of this section between or among the parties. The agreement shall be made available, on request, to representatives of the Department of Transportation.

(1) The agreement shall provide that all actions necessary to ensure accessible boarding and deplaning for passengers with disabilities are completed as soon as practicable, but no later than December 3, 2015.

(2) All airport operators and foreign carriers involved are jointly and severally responsible for the timely and complete implementation of the agreement.

(3) The agreement shall ensure that all lifts and other accessibility equipment are maintained in proper working condition.

(e) Boarding assistance agreements required in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section are not required to apply to the following situations:

(1) Access to float planes;

(2) Access to the following 19-seat capacity aircraft models: The Fairchild Metro, the Jetstream 31 and 32, the Beech 1900 (C and D models), and the Embraer EMB-120;

(3) Access to any other aircraft model determined by the Department of Transportation to be unsuitable for boarding and deplaning assistance by lift, ramp, or other suitable device. The Department will make such a determination if it concludes that -

(i) No existing boarding and deplaning assistance device on the market will accommodate the aircraft without significant risk of serious damage to the aircraft or injury to passengers or employees, or

(ii) Internal barriers are present in the aircraft that would preclude passengers who use a boarding or aisle chair from reaching a non-exit row seat.

(f) When level-entry boarding and deplaning assistance is not required to be provided under paragraph (e) of this section, or cannot be provided as required by paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section (e.g., because of mechanical problems with a lift), boarding assistance shall be provided by any available means to which the passenger consents. However, hand-carrying (i.e., directly picking up the passenger's body in the arms of one or more carrier personnel to effect a level change the passenger needs to enter or leave the aircraft) must never be used, even if the passenger consents, unless this is the only way of evacuating the individual in the event of an emergency.

(g) In the event that airport personnel are involved in providing boarding assistance, the airport shall ensure that they are trained to proficiency in the use of the boarding assistance equipment used at the airport and appropriate boarding assistance procedures that safeguard the safety and dignity of passengers.

[80 FR 46514, Aug. 5, 2015]

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