While wheelchair accessibility in India has been nothing to shout about, the country is gearing up to offer individuals with limited movability an accessibility experience they could vouch for.
In a bid to create wheelchair friendly infrastructure, DEPwD (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) introduced Accessible India Campaign (a.k.a. Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a countrywide initiative.
Lining with the aforesaid campaign, GHIAL (GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd) recently launched a much-needed amenity in the form of a wheelchair lift, according to a report from Telangana Today.
On Saturday, September 23, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India, became the country's first airport to launch a Verti-lift (or wheelchair lift).
Launched under GHIAL’s trademark programme dubbed, 'Passenger is Prime,' the amenity will be offered to domestic passengers visiting the airport.
Usually, more than 40,000 passengers fly in and out of Hyderabad on a daily basis. It's worth noting that over 100 arrival passengers among them use a wheelchair for mobility, according to a GHIAL release.
After arriving on aircraft which do not dock at aerobridges, passengers who rely on a wheelchair for transportability are provided elevators to let them enter the terminal building and reclaim their luggage.
More often than not, they are attended by airline staffs who accompany them towards the luggage claim area. In order to minimize the wait time at the elevators, the verti-lift solution has been provided at the airport, the release states.
It takes about just a couple of minutes for a passenger to make headway from the gate to the baggage claim section with the verti-lift.
The electrically-powered lift is operatable by a remote control as soon as a wheelchair user is secured onto the lift's platform. To ensure the lift operates without stopping, the airport offers a backup power source as well.
GHIAL chief executive SGK Kishore expressed his happiness noting, "We are happy to be the first airport in India to introduce a Verti-lift to serve our passengers."
"The verti-lift is our latest effort as part of this programme which is also in line with the government’s ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ initiative,” he added.
Bearing passengers with restricted mobility in mind, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport provides curbside parking at forecourt which has appropriate signage, coupled with intercom calling facility at departure and arrival ramps.
Aside from that, RGIA offers wheelchair assistance from the curbside till check-in.
Elevators covering the terminal area feature Braille instructions for visually impaired passengers. There is a special security check lane in order to facilitate their easy passage through the Security Hold Area.
The airport also offers special sitting arrangements along with wheelchair accessible washrooms and free buggy service.
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