The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission gives notice of a decision made on 13 October 2003 under section 57 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ("DDA") concerning access to regional air services operated by Airnorth.


The exemption application was submitted by Capiteq Ltd trading as Airnorth.

Decision of the Commission

The Commission decides under section 55 of the DDA to grant, for a period of two years, an exemption to the applicants from the operation of sections 23 and 24 of the DDA and from the operation of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, regarding:

  • Lack of access to aircraft seats for people requiring wheelchair access, where this is prevented by limited aisle width.
  • Lack of access to aircraft or seats for passengers requiring lifting, where this cannot be performed in compliance with the requirements of applicable occupational health and safety laws due to space constraints of the particular aircraft.
  • Imposition on intending passengers of requirements for notice of disability access needs, where the notice required is reasonable in the circumstances.

The exemption is conditional on Airnorth:

  • implementing proposals in its application for carrying passenger with disabilities and assistants at reduced fares where Airnorth requires a passenger provided assistant
  • reporting each three months during the exemption period to the Commission on any instances where a passenger has been unable to travel or has been required to travel with an assistant because of restrictions permitted by this exemption
  • reporting within twelve months on any technical solutions which may be feasible to difficulties in passengers with disabilities boarding and being seated safely

Finding and reasons

In making this decision the Commission accepted findings and reasons contained in a recommendation and statement of reasons prepared by the Deputy Disability Discrimination Commissioner, which is available on the Commission's web site .

Review of decision

Subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision to which this notice relates by or on behalf of any person/s whose interests are affected by the decision.

John von Doussa QC
on behalf of the Commission
October 2003