A report released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority last week has highlighted four airports that have not come up to scratch in the service and assistance they provide for disabled passengers and people with reduced mobility.
The report stated:
“Disappointingly we have classified London Gatwick, London Stansted, and Birmingham as ‘needs improvement’ and one airport, Manchester, as ‘poor’. Manchester did not meet its performance targets regarding the timeliness of assisting people through the airport on arrival from inbound flights. Information provided to us shows that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility took significantly longer to move through the airport than other passengers, with an unacceptable number of disabled and reduced mobility passengers waiting more than twenty minutes for assistance with, in some cases, passengers left waiting for assistance for more than an hour.”
The report goes on to state that Manchester airport acknowledged that this is unacceptable and have implemented an improvement plan to ensure it raises the quality of assistance it provides disabled travellers and reduced mobility passengers.
London Gatwick, London Stansted, and Birmingham failed to provide sufficient information on the standard of service provided at their airport. The report highlights the importance of good data collection as it is vital to ensure the appropriate improvements can be made going forward to provide disabled passengers with a better experience in airports.
This latest report has also shown that there was over 3 million requests for assistance in 2017 and that requests for assistance are increasing at a rate of around double that of general passenger growth. This fact shows just how imperative it is to ensure all airports improve their standards of service for disabled passengers or face severe problems in the future.
There appears to have been a general improvement across the board with the survey showing that 83% of assistance users were satisfied overall and 54% stated that they were ‘very satisfied’. However, the report also showed that a small proportion of assistance users were very dissatisfied with their experiences and although this number is smaller, they can see from the comments made in the survey that the negative impact that this poor quality of service has had on these passengers is extremely significant. You only have to look at the news recently to read the horror stories of disabled passengers in airports and on aeroplanes to know the emotional and physical damage that these circumstances can cause.
This is the third annual report by the UK CAA and it seems to be having a positive affect overall as we are told of significant improvements made at Edinburgh airport, Heathrow, Exeter and East Midlands.