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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 10:56 GMT
Ryanair accused of 'profiteering'
Stansted Airport
Ryanair says airports, not airlines, should provide wheelchairs
Ryanair has been accused of "blatant profiteering" over plans to add 50p to ticket prices to cover the cost of supplying free wheelchairs at airports.

The airline was ordered to provide free wheelchairs after being sued for discrimination by a disabled passenger charged 18 to use one at Stansted.

Labour's Lord Carter, who heads a committee examining the Disability Discrimination Bill, made the charge.

He said the actual cost of the service at Stansted was only about 2p a ticket.

However, Lord Davies of Oldham said it may be the case but there was nothing the government could do.

Legal change

He said fares were "entirely a matter for individual airlines" and Ryanair was, in any case, not a UK firm.

Former Tory cabinet minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean added: "If the British Airports Authority can afford to provide free parking for MPs, surely they can afford wheelchairs for disabled people."

Lord Davies said current law limited airlines' responsibility for disabled people to the time when they were actually on an aircraft.

This would be changed by the Disability Discrimination Bill.

Ryanair said it would need to introduce the 50p charge after Bob Ross, a community worker from London, sued the company.

A court ruled Mr Ross, who has cerebral palsy, had been discriminated against after being charged for the use of a wheelchair.

Ryanair vowed to appeal against the decision and said it was the airports' responsibility to provide wheelchairs.


SEE ALSO:
Ryanair to appeal over wheelchair
01 Feb 04  |  Business
Ryanair faces disability lawsuit
03 Sep 02  |  Business


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