Disability Council Demanding Clarification on Airport Charge

The government’s Disability Action Council (DAC) on Friday requested that the company that manages Cambodia’s airports clarify its policy on charging wheelchair-bound passengers to board aircraft after a woman was asked to pay $240 to board a flight in Siem Reap earlier this month.

“We are requesting that the Cambodia Airport Management Services (CAMS) clarify the $240 extra charge in order to protect the interests of all disabled people in Cambodia in accordance with the law on protection and promotion of the rights of disabled people,” said Em Chanmakara, secretary-general of the DAC, in a letter to Emanuel Menanteau, CEO of Cambodia Airport Management Services (CAMS).

On September 19, Rahma Elsiddig Gasm, a Sudanese official for Action on Disability and Development (ADD) International, asked for assistance boarding a Bassaka Air flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh along with her wheelchair, according to a complaint sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs by ADD International country director Srey Vanthon.

Employees said that because Ms. Elsidding Gasm had not alerted the airline in advance of her disability, she had to pay $240 to use the “ambulift” service, according to Mr. Chanmakara.

Khek Norinda, spokesman for Cambodia Airports, which operates CAMS, said the company does not charge passengers who need to use its ambulift service.

“CAMS, the company that provides ground-handling services to airlines, does not charge the use of ambulift to airlines who welcome passengers with reduced mobility on board of their aircraft,” he said.

“To dispel the possible repeat of a similar incident, CAMS is going to immediately reclarify its policy to airlines and to engage with organizations representing disabled persons,” he added.

Mr. Chanmakara said that the letter seemed to have had its desired impact, compelling CAMS to “clarify what the money was for—whether the money was for the technical part, or is it their policy.”

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