Flying can be nerve-wracking for anyone, and if you have mobility needs the nervous factor goes WAY up! Not only do you have to worry about boarding the plane and whether or not the equipment is safe, you have to worry about what goes on during the flight as well. There have been petitions (Wheelchair on Commercial Airlines, Accessible Planes, Accessible Airlines Proposal, Effective procedures for storing mobility devices on flights) written by frustrated passengers about the lack of accessibility on airplanes. The petitions have outlined what these individuals have encountered and what needs to be done.
With all the recent news on a new supersonic jet like Boom, as well as space orbiting aircraft manufacturers such as Virgin Galactic, there is a need to meet the demands of a under-served market for customers with accessible needs. A new company has stepped up to the challenge to fill that gap. WheelsAir, a Canadian-based company has plans to develop the very first fully scooter and wheelchair accessible aircraft. This aircraft has the capacity to hold up to fifty passengers with mobility devices and seats for service animals. For passengers with any other accessible needs, the aircraft is up to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards to accommodate.
However, at this moment, the aircraft cannot be configured to accommodate able-bodied passengers, due to fire hazard regulations. The aircraft is capable of getting passengers from New York to London in under three hours (yes in three hours!). This is achieved by utilizing the latest engine technology. Now people with mobility needs can be seated properly on the plane, access the washrooms and fly comfortably anywhere in the world!
One potential customer said, “Now we don’t have to worry about traveling on our own.”
The first WheelsAir aircraft prototype will be made available in 2020.