Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have introduced new accessibility measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic for passengers requesting special assistance at the airport and during flights.
The guidelines follow the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) “Guidance on Accessible Air Travel in Response to Covid-19”, which lays out principles for airlines to follow for assistance requests, as well as measures outlined by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
“Based on the jointly announced new accessibility guidelines, ANA and JAL will act responsibly and respond to the needs of the traveling public, while strengthening efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Both carriers seek to provide a safe, secure and accessible travel experience,” reads a statement from the carriers.
As part of the new measures, both airlines say they are disinfecting service equipment such a wheelchairs, baby strollers and seat assists.
JAL says in-flight equipment and supplies, including communication boards, safety instructions in braille, and in-flight wheelchairs are also provided and “thoroughly disinfected before and after use by each customer”. The airline adds that its Special Assistance Counter at Haneda Airport has antiviral processing.
Meanwhile, ANA says its ground staff will wear gloves when providing assistance in close quarters, for example, when helping customers move between a wheelchair and seat. They will also wear gowns upon request or at the discretion of the ground staff.
“To avoid the risk of droplet infection, our staff will also keep conversation outside of that necessary for assisting purposes to a minimum and position themselves diagonally in front when providing assistance to avoid face-to-face situations,” reads a statement from ANA.
The airline says it will provide assistance without physical contact “if at all possible”.
Both airlines are providing alcohol wipes at their Special Assistance Counters at the airport.
Onboard, ANA says wheelchairs, braille and large-print copies of its printed guidance (such as safety instructions cards and drink menus) are all sanitised before each use. Cabin crew will be wearing gloves and will also wear gowns if a passengers requests them or at the discretion of the cabin attendants when providing support in close quarters, says the carrier.