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EFA – Air travel for patients requiring oxygen should be facilitated not hindered

On World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day, the European Federation of Allergy & Airways Diseases Patients´ Association (EFA) called on European air travel authorities to rule on the use of medical oxygen on airports and plane cabins.

More than 3.5 million people need medical oxygen in Europe and many are advised by their doctors to move to regions with temperate climates that will ease the symptoms of their disease. Yet, the free movement of people around the EU is a nightmare for severe respiratory patients. EFA has documented that air travelling with oxygen is in many cases unaffordable and too complicated for individual patients to try.

Medical oxygen is a common therapy among COPD, severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer patients that have attained a severe degree of the disease. The current EU regulation allows air travel with medical oxygen equipment but the oxygen itself is currently provided by airlines as a complementary service for passengers. In an effort to document the discrimination suffered by severe respiratory patients when air travelling in Europe, EFA published the booklet “Enabling Air Travel with Oxygen in Europe”, in collaboration with another HEAL member, the European Lung Foundation (ELF). The booklet shows how certain airlines charge up to seven times more for travelling with medical oxygen, when compared with flight tickets of a standard passenger.

The press release is available here

Last updated on 17 December 2014

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