Heathrow told to improve service for disabled passengers

11 Aug 2017 by Mark Caswell
Disabled woman at the airport (iStock)

Heathrow is among four UK airports deemed to offer a ‘poor’ service for disabled passengers, according to a new report by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The report said that the majority of UK airports offer a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ service for disabled travellers, but singled out Heathrow, Manchester, East Midlands and Exeter as having “not met the CAA’s expectations”.

The four airports were rated ‘poor’ in one or more areas including customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations, and have been told they must improve.

The CAA said that of the UK’s 30 busiest airports reviewed, six were rated ‘very good’, and 20 ‘good’. A full table of the results can be seen below.

The authority said that the four airports rated ‘poor’ “have all now committed to make improvements and the CAA expects work to implement these plans to start immediately”. It added that “Where airports regularly under-perform, the CAA can take enforcement action to ensure services are improved”.


CAA disability table

The report is part of a framework introduced by the CAA, designed to ensure there is “a consistent and high quality service for disabled passengers across UK airports”.

The CAA said that the number of people with a disability requesting extra help when travelling by air “continues to grow significantly”, and has reached over three million journeys in 2016, a rise of over 66 per cent since 2010.

Commenting on the findings Richard Moriarty, CAA Director of Consumers and Markets, said:

“UK aviation should be proud that it continues to serve a rapid increase in the number of passengers with a disability. Our surveys, along with the airports’ own studies, have shown high levels of satisfaction among disabled passengers and we have seen some examples of excellent service where assistance is well organised and delays are minimal.

“However, East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester have fallen short of our expectations and we have secured commitments from them to make improvements. We will monitor their implementation over the coming months to make sure that services for passengers with a disability or reduced mobility continue to improve.”

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