British Airways boss Alex Cruz has pledged to include accessibility on his board agenda and will continue to support investments that improve travel for disabled passengers.

The move comes as BA aims to become the airline of choice for passengers with hidden and visible disabilities.

Chairman and CEO Cruz committed the carrier to The Valuable 500, a global movement to make accessibility a business priority.

Almost 500,000 people requiring additional assistance fly with BA a year and the airline’s analysts predict that this figure will grow by a further 8% year-on-year.

BA became the first airline to partner with the Department for Transport in October on an initiative to make transport more inclusive and help people with disabilities travel with confidence.

Cruz said: “I am really proud of the strides British Airways is making to support customers requiring additional assistance, from our investment in enhanced staff training to the dedicated customer team which, having been in place just two months, has already doubled customer satisfaction levels for the customers they are supporting.

“We know travelling with a hidden or visible disability can be difficult, so through signing this pledge we are making a commitment to get this right for our customers, and providing reassurance that we will do all we can to make their journey easy and stress-free.”

The airline launched its biggest ever accessibility training scheme in January for almost 30,000 customer-facing staff to improve assistance for customers with hidden and visible disabilities.

A dedicated team of accessibility experts for travellers who require additional assistance was introduced in September.

Claire Mason Burnett, a member of BA’s 20-strong accessibility team based in Newcastle, said: “I have two children who are profoundly deaf so I know how difficult it can be for customers with a disability to navigate unfamiliar places such as an airport.

“Lots of customers contact us because they have never travelled before and they believe their disability means they never will and the best part about my job is being able to give them the support they need to feel confident to travel and explore the world for the first time.”