[Barbados] New airport ambulift to help disabled travellers

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[Barbados] New airport ambulift to help disabled travellers

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Feb 09, 2019

https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/easier-access

[Barbados] New airport ambulift to help disabled travellers
Sat, 02/09/2019

There is a new piece of equipment in operation at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), which will make the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers with reduced mobility much easier.

Caribbean Aircraft Handling (CAH) yesterday rolled out a new ambulift, which Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds said is a step towards helping to make Barbados fully accessible to the world.

His comments came as he disclosed that the GAIA will soon be putting in place prioritised seating for persons with disabilities to ensure that access to the gate and boarding of the aircraft can be done in a “more comfortable and convenient fashion”.

“As sought after as Barbados is as a destination, it is critically important that we do all that we can in our power to remember those people who are not able, for a variety of reasons, to be as easily capable of accessing all of the things that Barbados has to offer as the average person is. I indicated as much to the Chairman and Mrs. Weekes at my very first meeting with the Board of Directors, and I am pleased to be able to say that in only a few months… they have been able to rise to the challenge in a very meaningful way,” he said.

The minister went on to say that the new piece of equipment – which is estimated to cost US$200 000 inclusive of shipping and handling – will be of great help to persons who have reduced mobility as a result of physical incapacity which may be sensory or locomotory, advancing age or illness. His comments came as he noted that an increasing number of people in each of those categories are travelling and need to be accommodated.

“…Though having reduced mobility they have the capacity to spend a lot of money, why then would Barbados want to lock itself out of a market that is so potentially lucrative and a market in which there are so many players who have not made it top of the mind priority to offer the best possible welcoming and hospitality experience for persons with reduced mobility?” Minister Symmonds added.

With that in mind, the tourism minister maintained that it is imperative the fully accessible goal also be achieved at the seaport and in hotels across the island. In that vein, he said he has communicated such to the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and said he looks forward to the day when every new tourism investment in this country will make provision throughout their property for persons with reduced mobility.

“We must go there. I think first of all it is a moral requirement and a moral imperative, but beyond that, it makes good sense if we are offering hospitality as our major industry,” he contended.

In addition to being able to accommodate wheelchairs, Minister Symmonds said that anyone who is accompanying the passenger with reduced mobility can join them on the ambulift.

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Re: [Barbados] New airport ambulift to help disabled travellers

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Feb 09, 2019

https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/02/09/new-service/

New service
Colville Mounsey
February 9, 2019

The daily struggle to lift wheelchair users on to and from aircraft at Grantley Adams International Airport appeared to come an end today as the airport’s state-owned ground handler introduced a new mobility lift.

And Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds sees the development as a chance to tap into the disabled tourist market.

Caribbean Aircraft Handling’s unveiled its ‘Ambu-lift’ service using a new piece of equipment known as a ‘lift-a-loft’ to elevate disabled passengers to airline doors.

Symmonds said the service signals an end to the days of airport attendants struggling to lift disabled people onto plane, in what some may term as an undignified manner.

Addressing the audience at an unveiling ceremony at the airport, Symmonds acknowledged that over the years Barbados has not done all it could to make the destination accessible to everyone.

He said: “When I became Minister of Tourism I have maintained then as I do now that there is a glaring omission that we have been presiding over for a long time. We were not doing all that we can as a people to ensure universal accessibility to those people that we have the honour to play host to. As sought after as Barbados is as a destination, it is critically important that we do all that we can in our power to remember those people who cannot easily access all the things Barbados has to offer.”

The Minister of Tourism and International transport praised Caribbean Aircraft Handling for taking steps to correct the problem in a short space of time.

Apart from a moral obligation, he said Barbados has been missing out on an area of revenue for years.

Symmonds said: “The fact of the matter is that people with all forms of disabilities are travelling and doing so in large numbers. It is also true to say that very often these persons have a capacity to spend a lot of money. Why then would Barbados want to lock itself out of a market that is so potentially lucrative? It is low hanging fruit and we must go after with every ounce of vigour.”

But the Minister of Tourism suggested that in order for Barbados to capitalise on this market, the seaport and hotels ought to replicate the mobility initiative.

“Initiatives like these have to be done at the sea port as well. In my view it must be reflected in every hotel and I yearn for the day when every new investment will make provision by way of room accommodation and special other accommodations for persons with reduced mobility. We must get to this point because first of all it is a moral requirement and secondly it makes good sense if we are offering hospitality.”

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