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MDA Celebrates DOT Rule on Accessible Lavatories
July 26, 2023 by Mark Fisher

After years of hard work and hundreds of MDA advocates making their voices heard, the Department of Transportation (DOT) finally released a regulation to mandate accessible lavatories on single-aisle airplanes, the most common type of airplane in the country!

Specifically, this rule would mandate that:

  • Within 10 years, all newly ordered, and within 12 years, all newly delivered single aisle airplanes of existing models (i.e., 737 or A300) must have an accessible lavatory.
     
  • Within 1 year, any newly designed model of a single aisle airplane must have an accessible lavatory.
     
  • Within 3 years, airlines must make improvements to existing lavatories.

“Today, the Department of Transportation issued a long-awaited rule to require accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft, which are used for the majority of domestic flights in the United States.  The rule also mandates that onboard wheelchairs be able to maneuver passengers down the aisle and into the lavatory. This means that passengers with disabilities will no longer suffer the indignity of not being able to use the restroom on a flight,” said Michael Lewis, MDA’s Director, Disability Policy.

“MDA is very pleased with this final rule, and especially thankful that the Administration significantly reduced the implementation timeline to 10-12 years from the originally proposed 18-20 year timeframe, which MDA and the broader disability rights community were particularly concerned about.  This is a huge victory for accessible air travel, and we couldn’t have achieved it without members of the neuromuscular disease community, which made up over 80% of the comments submitted to the DOT during last year’s comment period. This rulemaking process has taken several years, but the fact that we were able to significantly cut the implementation timeline makes the wait worth it,” Lewis said.

We have a lot of work to do to improve air travel, including our campaign to include accessibility provisions in this year’s Federal Aviation Act reauthorization. But for now, let’s take a moment and celebrate this victory!

Thank you for all that you do!

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