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New Wheelchair Accessible Aircraft Lavatory Design 

ACCESS is a newly developed design for a wheelchair accessible lavatory that can be used on a single-aisle aircraft which aims to improve the flying experience of passengers with reduced mobility. The developers, Acumen Design Associates and ST Engineering, describe their design as “the world’s first expanding aircraft lavatory”.

According to Daniel Clucas, senior designer at Acumen Design Associates, the process of expanding or shrinking the lavatory takes only a few seconds and requires the assistance of one crewmember. ACCESS fits within the footprint of the existing standard lavatory unit and has a latch on the outside of the wall which opens the extension into the entranceway of the aisle at the rear of the aircraft.

The extended lavatory is said to offer 40% more space than a standard lavatory unit which allows enough room for a wheelchair user and carer. This means that wheelchair users can now transfer inside the lavatory instead of having to transfer behind a curtain outside the lavatory.

The design of ACCESS incorporates the four main considerations outlined by Mary Doyle, accessible aviation consultant and founder of Rocket Girl Coaching. These considerations are more space, anti-slip flooring, sanitised work surfaces and improved physical supports for unassisted transfer.

ACCESS has progressed from the initial concept to the final mockup in less than a year, as the developers only formally started working on it in June 2019. The developers are currently working through the engineering and certification phase and estimates that ACCESS could be implemented in aircrafts as soon as February 2021.

Find out more information about ACCESS here.

More about Mary Doyle’s research on air travel for persons with reduced mobility is available here.

Alternatively, if you need further information on how to make facilities or services more accessible and inclusive, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].