PriestmanGoode, Flying Disabled and SWS Certification have unveiled Air 4 All, a system that aims to revolutionise air travel for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) by enabling powered wheelchair users to remain in their own wheelchair for the entire journey.
The Air 4 All system allows wheelchair users to travel in their own wheelchair on board a commercial aircraft without reducing the seat count for airlines. The design has been created by a consortium comprising PriestmanGoode, SWS Certification and Flying Disabled. The launch coincides with the 35th anniversary of the Air Carriers Access Act, passed by US Congress in 1986 to guarantee that people with disabilities would receive consistent and nondiscriminatory treatment when travelling by air.
Air 4 All works in a similar way to ISOFIX /LATCH standards in passenger cars. Both the airline seats and wheelchairs facilitate an installation and attachment system, enabling them to be securely installed in the aircraft cabin. The system is designed so that different powered wheelchair types can be certified for flying and will be able to interface with a wide range of airline seats. If no wheelchairs require access, the seats function as regular airline seats.
Paul Priestman, designer and Chairman of PriestmanGoode says “Air 4 All will usher in a step change in the industry and finally offer equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers. The biggest barrier in the past has been that giving greater space to passengers in wheelchairs would have reduced seat count and resulted in a loss of revenue for airlines. Air 4 All solves this problem and has the added benefit of enabling airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat, ensuring brand consistency and a cohesive brand experience for all passengers. Air 4 All will facilitate a smoother boarding and disembarking experience for PRMs and will also significantly reduce the number of wheelchairs that are damaged through poor handling.”