Cebu Pacific (CEB) is set to roll-out disabled passenger lifts (DPLs) in key airports in the Philippines, which would ease the boarding experience for persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) on the airline’s flights.
CEB says it is the first airline to invest in its own DPLs, which will be free of charge for Cebu Pacific passengers with reduced mobility, who need only the tick the box indicating their need for wheelchair assistance upon booking flights.
The airline has invested over 100 million pesos (US$1.95 million) for the procurement and installation of 35 DPLs, the first of which was installed in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in March for testing and evaluation and used to lift PRMs on some CEB flights since July.
Michael Ivan Shau, vice president for airport services of Cebu Pacific, said the remaining DPL units would be installed starting 2018. Six more would be placed at the NAIA Terminal 3, with the rest deployed to other CEB hubs across the country – namely, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao; as well as high-traffic airports across the country with CEB flights using Airbus aircraft. The airline targets completion by June 2018.
PRMs include pregnant and elderly passengers, in addition to persons with disabilities (PWDs).
In 2016 alone, over 43,000 passengers availed of wheelchair assistance from the check-in counter. Of this number, more than 14,000 were wheeled from the check-in counter and carried to their seats in the aircraft, according to a CEB statement.
The DPL was introduced in 1998 by international aircraft service provider Airport Maintenance Services–Ground Service Equipment to give airports a safe, comfortable and dignified way to get PRMs on and off aircraft. The DPL allows PRMs, as well as their companions or service agents, to board the aircraft or deplane via the aircraft door designated by the airlines. To date, there have been at least 500 DPLs used worldwide.
Meanwhile, the airline also recently implemented the 20 per cent discount on base fares and 12 per cent value-added tax (VAT) exemption for all domestic flights for PWDs and senior citizens across all its booking channels.