UK airports and airline operators have been given clearer guidelines on how they must work to ensure disabled and elderly passengers are able to access services and make hassle-free journeys.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has outlined the initiatives it is making to ensure airports make themselves accessible.
In a recently published presentation, CAA’s manager for consumer policy and enforcement, James Freemantle, pointed out that there are three measures set by the authority for airports.
They state that airports must meet targets for timeframes for providing assistance, meet customer satisfaction targets and consult with disability groups on the design of the service and accessibility of the airport.
To aid clarity, Freemantle stated that airports must publish their accessibility data and submit it to the CAA. Airports must also publicise and promote a CAA satisfaction survey or do their own surveying
The CAA estimates that 3.1 million passengers used the assistance service at UK airports last year (about 1.2% of all passengers).
Numbers using assistance have increased twice as fast as all passengers between 2010 and 2016 which is a 46% increase in passengers using assistance.
In August the CAA published a report showing that Heathrow and Manchester airports were rated as two of the worst for disabled access. The authority old airport operators to immediately improve services and facilities for disabled passengers.
The report assessed the top 30 UK airports on the quality of assistance they provide to passengers with a disability. It comes as the number of air travellers since 2010 has rocketed by 66%.
Of the airports reviewed, six were rated ‘very good’, 20 rated as ‘good’ and four rated as ‘poor’. Those with ‘very good’ and ‘good’ ratings have performed well in areas such as customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations.