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Evaluations

AIRPORTS

 
The survey considered the four airports of the Lombardy region: Milano Linate, Milano Malpensa Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, Orio al Serio (Bergamo) and Montichiari (Brescia).
Let’s now analyze their points of strength and weakness and the assistance service provided to disabled passengers.

Points of weakness

  • It is necessary that operators improve specific communications to disabled passengers. This can be done by displaying clearly on their website simple and exhaustive information and by printing leaflets that can be found in airports, tourist offices, and travel agencies. Only SEA, the company operating Linate and Malpensa airports, has printed a dedicated leaflet, with basic information on how to use these airports. The text can be downloaded from SEA’s website.  Also the airports of Bergamo and Montichiari (Brescia) should provide this information for disabled passengers. Particularly, it is advisable that airports should advertise more effectively the availability of an assistance service for disabled passengers.
  • There is a lack of clear and precise information on the accessibility of bus and trains connecting the airports to the surrounding area. Because of this lack of information, most of the times disabled passengers choose a private mean of transport such as a private car or a taxi to reach an airport.
  • In particular, Montichiari airport is connected to Brescia railway station irregularly: bus departure times only coincide with Ryanair departures and arrivals.
  • In parking areas, close to reserved car parks for disabled people, there should be interphones to call the staff in order to use the assistance service granted by the airport to disabled passengers. This only exists at Linate and Malpensa airports.
  • Direction signs inside airports are not enough clear and effective for passengers in general, and this particularly affects the independence and mobility of disabled passengers
  • In order to allow physically disabled passengers to reach their seat, for boarding operations the staff uses a special wheelchair characterized by a very narrow seat (34 cm.). The use of such wheelchair is difficult for several disabled people. We suggest doing this transfer just before boarding operations.

 

Points of strength

  • All airports have parking areas with reserved free car parks for disabled people: it is necessary that disabled cars hold a disabled badge.  Generally these car parks are near the airport entrance.
  • The way from the parking area to the entrance is a pedestrian and accessible area, when the car park is on the same level as the entrance. Multi level parking areas are connected to the airport by accessible lifts.
  • All airports offer an assistance service for boarding operations for all disabled passengers who required it when booking their ticket. At Milano Linate and Malpensa airports an assistance service called “Sala amica” is available. This service is dedicated to disabled people and to minors. At Orio al Serio and Montichiari airports the service is provided directly by the staff.
  • In all airports disabled passengers receive assistance from the check in till the moment they leave the airport.
  • The staff dedicated to the assistance service is specially trained to deal with disabled customers.
  • All airports are accessible to disabled passengers. They don’t have architectural barriers and have dedicated routes for security checks for disabled passengers. They have tactile maps and tactile paths; lifts have Braille control panels with acoustic signal when reaching the desired floor. All airports have disabled toilets.
  • “Fingers” are used for landing and boarding operations. Fingers are a sort of gangways directly connecting the boarding gate to the plane. Where fingers cannot be used, “Ambulifts” are used. These are self-moving cars with an elevator dedicated to the boarding and landing operations of disabled passengers.