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Wheelchair users will soon be able to board planes using their own chair

The Air4All prototype, which should be available from December may enable passengers who use a powered wheelchair to board aeroplanes using their own chair.

Released by design firm Priestman Goode, campaign group Flying Disabled and the certification company SWS Certification, the trio hope that this design is going to kickstart not just the aircraft industry, but also the travel industry, into increasing their standards on inclusion and innovation for disabled passengers.

The seat functions as a regular seat when not in use but includes fastenings that can secure to a powered wheelchair – this could be a game-changer for wheelchair users, with the designer of Priestman Goode Paul Priestman saying that the goal was to create a ‘smoother experience’, whilst also solving the problem of damaged wheelchairs through ‘poor handling.’

man in blue dress shirt standing in airplane

The design is inspired by child seats in passenger cars, allowing various powered wheelchair types to be securely fixed in place in theory.

It envisions two seats which are installed at the front of the cabin that only take up as much room as a premium economy seat, whilst keeping their wheelchair.

Currently, disabled passengers must give up their wheelchair before boarding a plane if they were using a regular passenger seat in the US, where this prototype was designed.

The group are also looking towards the future where they could license the design and expand it towards other modes of travel such as rail or metro, with the finished prototype of Air 4 All set to be finished in December.

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