The Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) met with AirAsia Group Chief Executive Office Dato’ Tony Fernandes this morning. 16 representatives from various NGOs attended the meeting that resulted from the protest at LCCT-KLIA. From the word go, Datuk Fernandes informed us of his airline’s plans to remove many of the barriers and conditions that are preventing disabled persons from flying with AirAsia.
Group photo of BEAT members with AirAsia GCEO Dato’ Tony Fernandes.
For starters, AirAsia has agreed to purchase 2 ambulifts – one for LCCT-KLIA and the other for Kota Kinabalu Airport. No charges will be imposed for the use of the ambulifts. All aircrafts will be equipped with aisle chairs. Toilets will be equipped with handle bars for people who need to use it.
AirAsia GCEO Dato’ Tony Fernandes presenting the cap to BEAT Coordinator Christine Lee.
Representatives from BEAT were invited to sit in an advisory panel within AirAsia to give recommendations on issues relating to the handling of disabled passengers and acquisitions of equipment for such purposes, and also to provide training for airline staff assisting disabled persons.
The cap that AirAsia GCEO Dato’ Tony Fernandes sealed his commitment to
resolve issue brought forward by BEAT.
Overall, BEAT members were optimistic that we will be able to see changes in how AirAsia deals with disabled persons soon. I played the devil’s advocate and told Dato’ Fernandes that I was sceptical and is still sceptical if issues will be resolved soon until I see the end results.
Assistant BEAT Coordinator Peter Tan with AirAsia GCEO Dato’ Tony Fernandes.
This was because of the bad experiences with RapidKL who made promises that were never delivered and also the empty assurances given by various ministers to resolve the issues that we are facing. Nevertheless, his sincerity in coming to meet us personally was a first positive step.
Dato’ Tony Fernandes poses sportingly with Grace holding one of the banners
that was used during the protest at LCCT-KLIA.
To show his personal commitment that he will work towards sorting out the problems that disabled persons are facing with AirAsia, Dato’ Fernandes autographed the cap that he was wearing and presented it to BEAT Coordinator Christine Lee. The meeting ended in a jovial note. BEAT looks forward to seeing Dato’ Fernandes fulfilling all the promises that he made to us this morning.