An athlete who is paraplegic dragged himself inside the terminal of arrivals at the Luton Airport and stated that he wanted to drop his legal appeal due to the improvement of disabled facilities by the airport. In the incident of last August, the self-propelling wheelchair has been lost from Justin Levene. He was proffered an inflexible high-backed chair but he denied to receive it as he thought it affected his independence.
According to Luton Airport, they have 10 self-propelled wheelchairs. The airport informed about the provisions of these permanently based chairs at the airport:
- A loan replacement system whereby it lends people equipment, such as wheelchairs, free of charge as well as organising and funding the returns process
- Where it has pre-notification of a requirement for very specialised mobility equipment, it has an arrangement in place with a local disability resource centre who will assist the airport in sourcing such items.
An international wheelchair athlete, as well as mentor and trainer of the disabled athletes, Mr Levene said, “If Luton now has self-propelling wheelchairs and a loan system in case of loss or damage to a wheelchair, then I’m delighted with this outcome. This was never about money, it was about trying to get a change in policy. I am happy to drop my legal claim because Luton has taken on board my concerns and improved their disabled facilities for the better.”
He had been herniated a disc while he was at 20 and a succeeding surgery had been operated for fixing the severe problem which was wrongly steered and made him paralysed from the waist and dependent on a self-propelling wheelchair.
He said, “I hope that media coverage has helped raise awareness of issues around the mobility needs of disabled travellers. We simply want to get from A to B with as much dignity and independence as possible.”
Paralympic Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson told in the Good Morning Britain Programme that the outcome had been achieved by Mr Levene was “amazing”. She added, “This is the reality for a lot of disabled people. You get left on planes, you get left for sometimes a couple of hours”.