Air Transport World

Handling the handicapped: commuters shine under strict federal guidelines.

Handling the handicapped: Commuters shine under strict federal guidelines

It was called Civil Aeronautics Board Rule Part 382, "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap,' a rule born in the great tradition of America, the land of "equal' opportunity, to assure air travel rights for the nation's estimated 35 million handicapped persons.

When created in mid-1982, Part 382 both heartened dismayed interested parties. The rule went too far for some of the affected airlines, which are "all certificated air carriers (and) all commuter air carriers that receive subsidy or compensation.' From the perspective of a few handicapped constituent groups, however, the rule didn't go far enough. Although the rule basically applies to all airlines, only those receiving federal subsidies are subject to strict enforcement, which dismays some handicapped groups.

PVA suit

The Paralyzed Veterans of America feel use of the nation's federally funded airports and airways system constitutes a subsidy. PVA filed a suit--still pending--to broaden the scope of subpart B of Part 382 to emcompass all public air carriers, whether directly subsidized or not. Even before most CAB functions moved to the Department of Transportation a new rule replacing 382 was under consideration.

But the drive to create equal access, most parties agree, fell inequitably on commuters with fewer employes, less sophisticated facilities and smaller aircraft. …

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