Today’s aircraft cabins only meet the requirements of persons with limited mobility to a very limited extent. Cabin4All aimed to design and evaluate measures that offer real added value for those affected and yet are as efficient as possible for airlines.

Client: bmvit, TAKE OFF, Tender 2014

Duration: July 2015 to June 2016 (12 months)

Project partners: University of Applied Sciences Joanneum Graz GesmbH; Rodlauer Consulting GesmbH; TU Vienna, Institute of Transport Sciences

LOI partners: Flughafen Salzburg AG; ACstyria Auto Cluster GmbH; ÖAR – umbrella organisation of Austrian associations for the disabled; Physio Austria – Federal Association of Physiotherapists Austria; Re-mobility; SKS-Rehab; Club 81 – St.Pölten; knack:punkt – selbstbestimmt Leben Salzburg; Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehbewachen Österreichs

Project description: Due to national and international laws and EU regulations on non-discrimination (e.g. the European Accessibility Act) that are already in force or are currently being prepared, it is to be expected that in a few years’ time, similar to current measures in the railway sector, more stringent accessibility requirements will also apply in European air traffic. Currently, a variety of support measures for persons with reduced mobility are offered in the field of air travel, but especially during direct flight the requirements for accessibility are only partially fulfilled. Here the air travel industry finds itself in the particular area of tension between the necessary facilities for persons with limited mobility and the economic pressure to use the available space in the aircraft cabin for maximum seating. The aim of the Cabin4All project was to develop a clear catalogue of requirements based on technical and economic feasibility with the best possible consideration of the needs of persons with limited mobility, which serves as a basis for future aircraft development. The Cabin4All project was an exploratory project and primarily represents a network between the airline industry, the carriers and those affected. Taking into account current regulations and safety requirements, it was clearly shown which measures can be implemented, what added value can be generated and which measures can no longer be pursued from today’s point of view. Based on these findings, future targeted developments to improve accessibility in aircraft cabins can be driven forward.

In the Cabin4All project, the requirements for barrier-free aircraft cabins were initially developed for all passengers with limited mobility. At the same time, necessary measures to improve accessibility were designed and checked for technical, operational and economic feasibility. During the project, several networking workshops were held to bring together representatives of the airline industry and carriers as well as potential air passengers to define the concrete requirements. The aim of these networking workshops was not only to generate valuable know-how but also to build up an understanding of the mutual requirements. The consortium consisted of scientific experts from the aviation and railway sectors. Many requirements had to be met for the railways, so the extensive expertise available there could be used especially for the aircraft industry. In addition, scientific experts from health and social sciences worked together in the consortium to best define the requirements in the aircraft cabin for people with limited mobility.

The result of Cabin4All was a catalogue of requirements that clearly define what measures for improving accessibility are to be meaningfully implemented and in which areas there is still a concrete need for research and development in order to provide measures that are acceptable and meaningful for all parties involved. The added value of the Cabin4All project are clear statements on which the airline industry can rely and are intended to promote development that minimises risks as far as possible. It should be possible to press ahead with the relevant developments in good time so that all the necessary information is available when the relevant regulations come into force, which defacto will mean a redesign of the aircraft cabins.

Contact: DI Dr. Bernhard Rüger