More UK airports are offering better assistance for disabled passengers but Birmingham, Gatwick and Stansted have failed to meet expectations and Manchester is ranked ‘poor’ for a second year.
Those are the main findings of in an annual report published by the Civil Aviation Authority today into accessibility at the UK’s top 30 airports.
The report finds high levels of satisfaction overall with 16 said to be ‘very good’, up from six in last year’s review.
The report found 83% of people requesting assistance stating that they are ‘satisfied’, with 54% of those being ‘very satisfied’.
One of the improving airports was Edinburgh which was rated ‘poor’ two years ago but had improved to ‘very good’ this year.
Chief Executive Gordon Dewar said Edinburgh airport had invested more time, staff and funds into disabled access and has engaged with disabled passengers to improve its service.
He added: “To achieve a ‘very good’ rating is testament to the hard work put in by everyone involved.
“From technology to training, we’ve made a range of changes, big and small, to make the overall experience better for passengers and that is a continual process.”
The CAA said good progress has also been made by Heathrow Airport, which has this year been classified as ‘good’ following its ‘poor’ rating last year.
But three airports, Birmingham, Gatwick and Stansted did not meet the CAA’s expectations and have been told that they must improve.
Manchester Airport received a ‘poor’ rating for the second year in a row; the only airport to receive this rating this year.
The CAA identified issues in relation to long waiting times for assistance and issues with the recording and reporting of performance data.
The CAA’s framework, the first of its kind in the world, was introduced to drive improvements in performance and help deliver a consistent, high-quality service for disabled passengers across UK airports.
The study assessed airports against a number of measures to establish how well they are performing for disabled passengers, including asking passengers to rate the service.
Paul Smith, consumers and markets director at the CAA, 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.”
Baroness Sugg, UK aviation minister, added: “It’s essential that passengers with reduced mobility or hidden disabilities get the service they deserve every time they fly.
“The CAA has stepped up its work in this area and plays an important role in showing where improvement still needs to be made.
“I welcome the progress made by airports to improve accessibility and will continue to work with all of the aviation industry to make flying easier for disabled passengers.”
Liverpool John Lennon airport was listed in the “very good” category.
Contracts co-ordinator Lisa Crosby said: “We are all delighted to hear that the feedback from those passengers who need assistance here at the Airport has been so positive.
“We want to encourage passengers with a diverse range of disabilities to choose to fly from Liverpool.”
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