Mixed picture for reduced mobility travellers at UK airports

Mixed picture for reduced mobility travellers at UK airports

Only ten out of 30 UK airports rate ‘very good’ at supporting passengers with a disability or reduced mobility, a new study by the Civil Aviation authority shows.

Only one airport – Edninburgh - was rated as poor, although 12, including Heathrow, were said to be taking steps to improve.

The seven ranked as ‘good’ were Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Glasgow and Liverpool.

However, they fell short of the ten top performers – Belfast City, Belfast International, City of Derry, Humberside, Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Norwich, Southampton and Southend.

The findings are supported by recent consumer research by the regulator, which found that 85% of passengers who use assistance are either satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.

Airports rated very good or good, and those that have ‘taken steps’ to improve performance, account for 97% of all travellers that use the assistance service at airports, according to the CAA.

Under European regulations, airports and airlines must provide help and support to disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility, to better enable this group of people to travel by air.

CAA head of consumer enforcement, Matthew Buffey, said: “Our research shows passenger satisfaction with special assistance at UK airports is high with 85 per cent satisfied or very satisfied.

“However, high standards are not always universal, and occasionally things go wrong for disabled people and those with reduced mobility. These passengers are very much dependent on airport staff providing the appropriate assistance so it’s a really important task for airports to get right.

“We have worked closely with airports to help drive improvements and provide practical guidance where needed. Overall we are pleased that performance has generally been good, with some excellent examples of airports supporting their passengers who have mobility needs.

“Providing a consistently high quality assistance service to disabled people and those with reduced mobility should be a top priority for the senior management of UK airports, and we do not expect standards to slip.

“To ensure that this is the case, we will continue to monitor performance standards and, where any issues do arise, take action quickly to protect the rights of disabled people and those with reduced mobility.”

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