Asia-Pacific Jan 9, 2012
Tasmanian disability groups want a review of air access to the state to also consider the needs of travelers with disabilities, but the government says it is not the panel’s focus.
A working group of tourism representatives was formed last year after ash clouds and industrial action isolated the state.
Margaret Reynolds from National Disability Services says Tasmania has the highest disability rate in the country and the push for extra flights should include more disabled seating.
“An island state doesn’t have the alternatives,” she said.
Jane Wardlaw from the state’s disability lobby group says budget airlines generally take only two wheelchair users travellers per flight.
“There aren’t enough flights coming in and out of Tasmania,” she said.
The Tourism Minister, Scott Bacon, says he will make sure such concerns are raised with the airlines, but it is not the review’s focus.
The budget carriers into Tasmania say restrictions are based on safety and weight reasons, and there are no plans to increase capacity.
Virgin Australia says it will sometimes take more than two wheelchair passengers, assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Jetstar says the two passenger limit is reached on less than 10 per cent of its flights nationally.