§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what evidence he has collated on UK airports as to the levying of differential handling charges for disabled travellers; and if he will take steps to prevent this practice. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
There is general agreement across airports and airlines that the additional costs incurred in providing assistance to disabled passengers should not be passed on to those passengers. That principle will be reflected in a UK Code of Practice on air travel for disabled people that the Department is planning to publish this summer. Compliance with that Code will be on a voluntary basis, but we have said that we will take powers to place the Code on a statutory basis should the voluntary approach prove ineffective.
Additionally, many UK airlines and airports have signed the European Air Passenger Rights Charter, which was launched on 14 February and which includes a similar commitment. The Charter covers a range of non-legally binding commitments to deliver defined standards of service to air travellers.
The Charter was developed by European airlines and airports following extensive discussion with representatives of air travellers; the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), representing European Governments; and the European Commission. My Department is also involved in discussions through the European Civil Aviation Conference to look at the mechanisms which have been established at different airports across Europe to cover the costs of assisting disabled passengers and to develop guidance on workable models for providing assistance and covering the costs on an equitable basis.