AirAsia – Dato’ Tony Fernandes Announces Measures To Resolve Problems Faced By Disabled Passengers

AirAsia Press press conference backdrop at LCCT-KLIA
AirAsia Press press conference backdrop at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

It is difficult not to love Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia, especially if one is a disabled person. Immediately after the protest by the Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT), Dato’ Fernandes personally met with members of BEAT to discuss the ways to resolve issues faced by disabled persons wanting to book seats to fly with AirAsia.

AirAsia GCEO Dato' Tony Fernandes giving his speech at the press conference at LCCT-KLIA
AirAsia GCEO Dato’ Tony Fernandes giving his speech at the press conference at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

Following that meeting on July 20, AirAsia held a press conference yesterday (August 4, 2007) to officially announce the measures taken by the company to ensure that disabled persons will be able to fly with the airline. Dato’ Fernandes told members of the press and about 50 BEAT members who were present at LCCT-KLIA yesterday that AirAsia has purchased 2 ambulifts – one for LCCT-KLIA and the other for Kota Kinabalu International Airport – to ease the boarding and disembarking of people with reduced mobility and disabled persons.

Members of BEAT at AirAsia's press conference at LCCT-KLIA
Members of BEAT at AirAsia’s press conference at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

He also announced the current fleet of AirAsia’s Airbus 320 planes and all planes in the future will be equipped with at least one aisle chair for the mobility of passengers. All toilets inside the aircrafts will be affixed with handle bars for the convenience of passengers. After the press conference, members of the press and BEAT were invited to test out an ambulift similar to the two that AirAsia have purchased and will be operational in 3 months. As part of the program to sensitise AirAsia staff on disability issues, Dato’ Fernandes invited BEAT to work with AirAsia Academy in training on those matters. He has offered to employ 3 staff at AirAsia’s call centre and a few more in guest relations positions. That was not all!

BEAT Coordinator Christine Lee giving her speech at AirAsia's Press press conference at LCCT-KLIA
BEAT Coordinator Christine Lee giving her speech at AirAsia’s Press press conference at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

Dato’ Fernandes has allocated space on the skin of AirAsia’s newest plane, the 50th in the fleet that we had the privilege to see yesterday, to prominently promote BEAT’s and disabled persons’ cause like what is being done with Manchester United and the Williams F1 Team both of which AirAsia is sponsoring. That is not all yet! He has also requested from BEAT a tagline, quote or slogan for the message to be carried by Rooney and Ronaldo, both players of Manchester United. How cool can that be?

Dato' Tony Fernandes posing with BEAT members applauding AirAsia for resolving issues faced by disabled passengers
Dato’ Tony Fernandes posing with BEAT members applauding AirAsia
for resolving issues faced by disabled passengers.
Photo by Wuan.

I was a skeptic – still a little skeptical until I see the ambulifts and fly with AirAsia – but I have to give it to Dato’ Tony for being the only public figure in Malaysia who has taken the problems faced by disabled persons seriously and openly addressed it immediately. He has set a standard for all other corporations and the government to follow in making Malaysia an inclusive society. I like most his attitude when he said to take a negative and turn it into something positive.

An ambulift similar to the one that AirAsia has purchased parked beside the newest aircraft in the fleet at LCCT-KLIA
An ambulift similar to the one that AirAsia has purchased parked beside
the newest aircraft in the fleet at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

Syabas Dato’ Fernandes; Syabas AirAsia; and most of all Syabas to my fellow advocates in BEAT, especially Christine and Ragu for making this happen. The journey may still be long but this success with AirAsia has shown us all that with the right attitude, anything is possible and the sky may not even be the limit.

More photos:

Ambulift docking beside AirAsia's newest Airbus 320
Ambulift docking beside AirAsia’s newest Airbus 320.
Photo by Wuan.

BEAT members watching a demonstration of the ambulift at LCCT-KLIA
BEAT members watching a demonstration of the ambulift at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

BEAT members testing out the ambulift at LCCT-KLIA
BEAT members testing out the ambulift at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

Peter Tan tranferring from plane seat to the aisle chair
Peter Tan tranferring from plane seat to the aisle chair. Holding the
chair from behind is AirAsia Executive Vice President Bo Lingam.
Photo by Wuan.

Peter Tan trying to get into the toilet in AirAsia's Airbus 320
Peter Tan trying to get into the toilet in AirAsia’s Airbus 320.
Photo by Wuan.

AirAsia's boarding stairs at LCCT-KLIA
AirAsia’s boarding stairs at LCCT-KLIA.
Photo by Wuan.

Read also:
AirAsia Still Practices Discrimination Against Disabled People
AirAsia, BEAT And What Disabled People Really Need

9 thoughts on “AirAsia – Dato’ Tony Fernandes Announces Measures To Resolve Problems Faced By Disabled Passengers”

  1. This is such good news! Hopefully actions like this will spur more corporations (e.g. RapidKL) to take more pro-active actions to provide services that benefit people with disabilities :)

    Peter:
    RapidKL… hahahahahahahaha….

  2. Isn’t it marvellous! Difficulties can be overcome if you have the determination to fight for them, as well as the support from others. All credit should go to the BEAT members for their endless perseverence in this just course and to Dato Fernandez for a man true to his word. For I believe he must have some tough negotiation to do back in his board meetings. A real gent who is sympathetic, caring and trustworthy. So, my friends, get flying, the sky the limit. By the way, I don’t think much about Man U, I’m into Plymouth Argyle (The Pilgrims), the best in the West! My wife and I will be visiting Malaysia at the end of October, and maybe we can meet up for coffee.

    Peter:
    I am not into football at all. Haha. Truly, this milestone is the hard work of all member of BEAT who worked tirelessly to see the advocacy campaign to thi stage. Re meeting, sure, drop me a mail when you are here.

  3. BRAVO Peter! Kudos to BEAT for all your hardwork and persistence for change! ^_^ May this be a strong affirmation to keep carrying on!

    Peter:
    Thanks. I hope this is the beginning of better things to come.

  4. Man, you and the team are contributing so much to the society. Not to mentioned you are making history too. :) *Respect* *Respect*

    Peter:
    Thank you. This is for ourselves first and foremost because we are directly affected. We also want to disseminate the message that everybody should be treated equally irrespective of whatever differences we may have.

  5. dear handsome guy Dato’ Tony Fernandez bravo bravo you have done the job keep it up hands shakes for you..looking forward more unlimited services…go for it Dato’…salute you handsome

  6. Dear Dato’

    Bravo ! It is such a good feeling knowing that actually there are people like you who are working hard to contribute to our country.

    Keep up the good job !

    DiDi.

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