Airports make ‘significant’ progress by helping the disabled
UK airports have made “significant improvements” in providing assistance to passengers with mobility problems, the industry regulator said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that, for the first time, no airport had been rated “poor”.
Manchester, which was the only airport that received a rating of “poor” last year, was removed from the lowest category.
However, he was told to take immediate steps to reverse a recent decline in performance.
The CAA said that in April, when Manchester switched to a new special assistance provider, “the transition did not go as well as planned.”
“We have told senior management that we expect immediate and effective action to reverse this recent decline in performance,” the CAA said in its report.
In response, Manchester Airport said: “We recognize that there is more to go and we are investing significant additional resources to improve services for passengers in this area, regardless of their accessibility or other requirements.”
In March, a woman with chronic fatigue syndrome accused the Manchester airport of treating her as “cargo” and “cattle” after a long-distance flight.
Jessica Stafford, 29, booked a special assistance service as she needed help getting around the airport.
But she found the experience “distressing” and “humiliating” after being asked to walk to pick up her own wheelchair.
She said she was told that the lack of staff was to blame.
The CAA report is its fourth annual mobility assistance evaluation.
He found that a record of 3.7 million passengers received assistance at 31 airports between April 1, 2018 and March 31 of this year.
The CAA rated the service of 14 airports as “very good” and 16 as “good”. Only Manchester was classified as “needs to improve”.
“These results show significant improvements in the experience that many disabled passengers faced before our reporting began,” said Paul Smith, director of markets and consumers at CAA.
“While it is good to see the general improvements, airports should continue to work hard to improve,” he added.
In a statement, the charity for equality of disability, Scope, said: “There are problems at airports and problems on airplanes.” Often, problems occur when one company “passes” to the other and it is not clear to the responsible disabled passenger.
“So, while it is good to see the progress of airports, and impressive that no airport is classified as defective this year, there are problems that are not under the mandate of the CAA that must be addressed.”