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Breakthrough at Manchester Airport for Wheelchair Passengers

13 October 2011

Manchester Airport is the first UK airport where a more comfortable and dignified travel experience is being provided for wheelchair passengers through the innovative use of equipment.

The Promove travel sling in use

Using the unique patented Promove sling, OCS customer care agents, who provide services for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) at Manchester Airport, can now, where appropriate, slip the sling underneath the passenger without lifting them under their arms from an aisle chair into the aircraft seat. The Promove sling has been used extensively by the fire services, schools and colleges as an evacuation device and OCS is the first PRM service provider to introduce it for airport use.

The sling was invented by Dr Huw Martin Thomas who has worked in scientific research for 34 years and has been confined to a wheelchair through disability for over 30 years. “As a passenger with reduced mobility myself,” commented Dr Thomas, “I understand how important it is to feel safe and dignified when transferring into my seat on the aeroplane. The design of the travel sling means that the handlers at the front and back can lift me using two handles each without having to hold on to me.”

Claire Longden, Airport Security and Regulatory Manager for Manchester Airport, said: “We are constantly on the look out for innovations that will improve our customers’ experience. The Promove sling is a fantastic idea that will make a difference for both customers and the Health and Safety of OCS staff. It is great news that we are the first airport to have Promove in use."

OCS PRM customer care agents at Manchester Airport have welcomed the Promove travel sling as it reduces their risk of muscular skeletal injury and helps them to greatly improve the passenger experience. The sling facilitates lifting in confined spaces as weight is distributed and up to four operatives can be involved in the lifting process for heavier passengers.

OCS aims to use the Promove sling at other major UK airports where the company provides PRM services, including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and East Midlands. The business has been providing services for passengers with reduced mobility at UK airports since 1992 and currently assists over one million passengers a year. With over 50 years’ experience of working in partnership with airports and airlines, OCS provides a range of bespoke services to the industry, achieving improved standards and delivering value.

OCS currently provides assistance to passengers with reduced mobility at 10 EU airports: Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, East Midlands, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

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