asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice and support he is giving to organisations concerned with the success of the "Access to the Skies" campaign for disabled, chronically sick and elderly persons to travel by air; if he will give an estimate of the number of such persons and their families who might benefit from success in such a campaign; if he will indicate what initiatives he has and will take in this campaign; and if he will make a statement.
The "Access to the Skies" programme is being promoted by Rehabilitation International. Its United Kingdom affiliate, the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) which is grant-aided by the DHSS, is closely involved in the programme.I recently met representatives of organisations for the disabled (including RADAR), the Air Transport Users Committee, United Kingdom carriers and the major commercial aircraft manufacturers, to discuss the needs of disabled people travelling by air. The discussion took account of the "Access to the Skies" campaign. I was pleased to note the interest taken in the needs of the disabled by the representatives of the carriers and manufacturers and I plan to hold a further meeting shortly.I have no way of estimating how many people could benefit from such a campaign.