Friday, 13 July 2018

UK's airports need to do more for disabled passengers

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority says the country's 30 biggest airports are failing disabled passengers and access is poor. 

Bottom of the list is Manchester Airport, that for the second year in a row has been rated poor.  London Gatwick, London Stansted and Birmingham are also cited by the CAA as in need of improvement. The CAA said "the impact on individuals is significant" when things go wrong, and there was  "more to do to improve journeys for disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility". 

Manchester's problems centred on "long waiting times for assistance and issues with the recording and reporting of performance data" according to the CAA. In some cases, disabled passengers had been left awaiting assistance for more than an hour and "not an acceptable situation".

London Heathrow has been praised for its improvement over the last year when it was rated as poor, this year it has climbed to the 'good' category.  "The passenger journey on arrival is now much quicker and generally seamless from aircraft to final point," according to the CAA, although many disabled passengers still say the airport lacks consistency in terms of assistance given or offered to them.
There were more than three million requests for disability assistance at UK airports annually, rising by almost 80% increase on 2010 figures.  "The vast majority of passengers' journeys go smoothly and disabled passengers should have even more confidence to travel from UK airports," the CAA said.

Paul Smith, Consumers and Markets Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We are pleased that surveys show that satisfaction levels remain high and the vast majority of passengers' journeys go smoothly. The improved performance of many airports means disabled passengers should have even more confidence to travel from UK airports.

“However, there are still too many occasions where things go wrong. We will continue to focus our work on ensuring that standards are maintained and improved, particularly for those whose experience has not been as positive as it could have been.  Where we see examples of bad practice, we will not hesitate to hold airports to account and take the necessary enforcement action.”