Airport services for disabled and less mobile passengers have improved significantly over the last year, a report from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows.
In their recent statement, the UK aviation regulator praised accessibility improvements made across UK airports.
In a recent report published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, it was highlighted that airport services for disabled and less mobile passengers have made significant improvements over the past year.
The report assesses 26 of the largest UK airports, shedding light on their efforts to provide a higher standard of service to passengers with reduced mobility.
Positive progress across UK airports
The report, covering the period from April 2022 to March 2023, revealed that 18 airports consistently achieved a good or very good rating for their accessibility services.
This demonstrates a positive trend in making air travel more inclusive and accommodating for passengers with disabilities.
Furthermore, seven airports managed to improve from a poor rating to a good or very good rating over the course of the year.
These airports faced challenges in meeting performance targets during the first two quarters but managed to implement improvements that led to a ‘very good’ rating by the end of the reporting period.
A notable example is Manchester Airport, which invested significantly in recruitment and equipment, resulting in substantial enhancements to their assistance services.
London Airports making strides
London Luton Airport, previously identified as a lower-performing airport in an interim report, showcased significant progress in their services, receiving a ‘very good’ rating in the last quarter.
This exemplifies the positive impact of dedicated efforts to enhance accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility.
Conversely, London Heathrow Airport was rated as ‘Needs Improvement’ in the report. However, it’s worth noting that the airport demonstrated improvements in the service provided to passengers throughout all four quarters.
Despite facing a 50% increase in the demand for assistance services since 2019, London Heathrow remains the airport with the highest total demand for such services in the UK.
The report acknowledges that the airport did meet the performance standards required to receive a ‘Good’ rating in the April 2023 to June 2023 period.
The UK CAA’s contribution
The UK Civil Aviation Authority played a vital role in collaborating with airports to enhance the experiences of passengers with reduced mobility.
One key focus area was encouraging airports to increase staffing and invest in equipment during the quieter winter months. These efforts bore fruit, leading to considerable improvements across UK airports during the reporting year.
The authority expects this momentum to continue, driving further progress in future quarters.
Insights from CAA Joint-Interim Chief Executive
Paul Smith, the Joint-Interim Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, expressed his satisfaction with the report’s findings.
He commended the dedicated efforts of airports across the UK in ensuring that all passengers receive the standard of service they deserve.
Smith acknowledged that 18 airports consistently achieving good or very good ratings, coupled with others making significant improvements, signifies substantial progress in restoring accessibility levels to those experienced before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted air travel.
However, Smith also emphasized that there is still room for improvement, especially for passengers with more complex needs and during the busier summer months.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority remains committed to working closely with airports, airlines, industry stakeholders, and advocacy groups to drive forward further improvements and ensure inclusivity for all passengers.
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