The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today assessed a civil penalty against Mesaba Aviation for violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities. The carrier was assessed a civil penalty of $125,000.
“We expect airlines to respect the rights of passengers with disabilities, and we will continue to take enforcement action when they do not,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
DOT’s rules implementing the Air Carrier Access Act require airlines to provide assistance to passengers with disabilities in boarding and deplaning aircraft, including the use of wheelchairs, ramps, mechanical lifts or service personnel where needed. Carriers also must respond within 30 days to written complaints about their treatment of passengers with disabilities and specifically address the issues raised in each complaint, as well as inform passengers that they can refer their complaints to DOT for investigation.
DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office reviewed complaints about Mesaba’s treatment of passengers with disabilities filed with the carrier and with DOT during 2007 and 2008. The complaints revealed a number of violations of the requirement to provide adequate enplaning and deplaning assistance, as well as instances where the carrier did not provide the required written responses to complaints from passengers with disabilities or notify them that they could refer their complaints to DOT.
The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0003.