Heathrow is among four airports which have been told they must improve how they support disabled passengers after their service was rated as “poor” by the CAA.
The CAA’s Airport Accessibility Report shows the number of passengers requesting extra help when travelling by air has now reached over three million journeys in 2016 – a rise of more than 66% since 2010.
The report reveals that the majority of UK airports are providing “very good” or “good” support. But four airports have not met the CAA’s expectations.
East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester, were rated “poor” and told they must improve.
It found that disabled passengers waiting at Heathrow had to wait up to two hours for help disembarking aircraft.
The CAA recorded instances of passengers not being met on board arriving aircraft and not being treated with dignity and respect. On some occasions passengers were encouraged to make their own way through the airport because of a lack of staff or equipment.
Of the airports reviewed, six were rated “very good” and 20 rated as “good”, having performed well in areas such as customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations.
CAA director of consumers and markets, Richard Moriarty, said: “UK aviation should be proud that it continues to serve a rapid increase in the number of passengers with a disability.
“Our surveys, along with the airports’ own studies, have shown high levels of satisfaction among disabled passengers and we have seen some examples of excellent service where assistance is well organised and delays are minimal.
“However, East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester have fallen short of our expectations and we have secured commitments from them to make improvements. We will monitor their implementation over the coming months to make sure that services for passengers with a disability or reduced mobility continue to improve.”
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