The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has revealed the top 31 most accessible airports in the UK and for the first time no airports have been classified as ‘poor’ on disabled access.
In its annual report, the CAA found that a number of operators have invested heavily in equipment and facilities designed to improve the airport experience for disabled passengers.
The report reveals that 14 airports have been rated ‘very good’. A further 16 airports were rated ‘good’.
Four airports that were classified as ‘very good’ last year received ‘good’ ratings this year, while Manchester Airport was classified as ‘needing improvement’ – although this was an improved rating from ‘poor’ in the previous two years.
14 airports received ‘Very Good’ status
Aberdeen, Belfast City, City of Derry, Cornwall Newquay, Doncaster Sheffield, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, Humberside, Kirkwall, Norwich, Southampton, Sumburgh
16 airports received ‘Good’ status
Belfast International, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Inverness, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Southend, London Stansted, Newcastle
1 airport received ‘Needs Improvement’ status
0 airports received ‘Poor’ status
The CAA has warned Manchester Airport to take “immediate action to reverse a recent decline in performance”.
The authority said that it has received assurances from the airport that it has plans in place to address this issue and it will be closely monitoring the implementation of these plans and their impact on performance.
For the first time since the framework’s introduction in 2016, no airports were classified as ‘poor’.
To achieve a ‘very good’ classification, airports most provide high quality support on the day of travel as well as keeping in regular contact and consultation with its users.
The report highlights room for improvement, with research showing that nearly a quarter of disabled and less mobile passengers said they requested assistance because the airport environment was becoming more difficult to navigate.
Since April, airports have been assessed using stricter targets, to improve the passenger experience and create a more seamless journey. Airports will need to further improve in order to retain or improve their classifications going forward.
Paul Smith, consumers and markets director at the CAA, said: “These results show significant improvements to the experience many disabled passengers faced before our reporting began. We hope this will help passengers to feel confident and empowered to travel from UK airports.
“While it is good to see the general improvements, airports will need to continue to work hard to improve, so that they are able to meet the more demanding performance standards that we have now introduced. Where we see examples of bad practice, we will not hesitate to hold airports to account and take the necessary action.”
Image: Gatwick Airport