Air travel opens up the world to holidaymakers, families and business travellers. Since 2010 the number of journeys made by people requesting special assistance has increased by more than two thirds to three million a year: a record number of disabled passengers are now travelling by air.
Today we published our second annual “Airport Accessibility” report, which evaluates the performance of 30 UK airports against a framework developed following extensive dialogue with industry and disability groups. This framework, the first of its kind, assesses how long passengers have to wait for assistance, customer satisfaction levels and how much consultation the airports have undertaken with organisations who represent those with disabilities.
The majority of airports were rated as “good” or even “very good”, with high service satisfaction levels at most. That's great news and testament to a lot of hard work by the aviation industry over the past few years. Disappointingly, however, four of the airports we looked at were rated “poor”.
There are many different reasons why an airport may be rated “poor”, whether its service has been below the standard disabled passengers should be able to expect or failing to consult properly with charities and other organisations representing people with disabilities. We're working with each of the airports concerned to agree the steps they need to take in order to improve their service levels or to have the necessary conversations with disability experts. Each airport has committed to make the necessary improvements. If we don't see improvements over time then we can initiate enforcement action.
This isn't about us picking winners and losers. It's our hope and expectation that all airports will provide a high quality service to their disabled customers as standard, so that everyone can travel with confidence.