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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

After a challenging summer for the aviation industry, and despite signs of improvements in recent months following action taken by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, a number of airports have provided an unacceptable level of service to disabled people and passengers with reduced mobility.

This was over a seven-month period between 1 April and 31 October 2022.

The aviation regulator’s Interim Airport Accessibility Report, which assesses 16 of the largest UK airports, details those airports that have succeeded in making improvements, as well as those that need to put in place further improvements to ensure that in 2023 disabled people and people with reduced mobility receive the standard of service to which they are entitled.

Earlier this year, the regulator wrote to airports informing them that the experience passengers received was unacceptable and told those who were underperforming that it expected them to do more to improve the quality of assistance throughout the rest of the summer.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority required several airports to put in place action plans, together with airlines, which saw marked improvements in performance.

The regulator also produced guidance which encouraged airports to make assistance services more passenger focussed and effective, as well as spending considerable time at UK airports this summer to better understand the challenges facing airports and offer advice and support as appropriate.

This drove improvements towards the end of the summer period, but overall, the regulator ranked London Luton as the worst-performing airport having failed to reach performance targets and for failing to make significant improvements to the assistance it provided between 1 April and 31 October 2022.

Only Aberdeen, Belfast International, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London City were rated as ‘very good’ for the whole period under review. Liverpool and Newcastle were rated as a mixture of “good” and “very good” across the period.

A total of eight airports were ranked as ‘poor’ in early months of the reporting period as too many disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility were waiting for unacceptably long periods for assistance on arrival. However, following significant progress, Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Stansted and Manchester were rated as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by the end of the reporting period.

Bristol, Leeds Bradford and London Heathrow are still deemed as needing improvement at the time of publication, as passengers have not seen sufficient improvements in the provision of service. Only London Luton airport continues to be ranked as poor.

The regulator’s report has praised those achieving a ‘very good’ rating and commended in particular East Midlands and Liverpool airports for introducing schemes which allow for personalisation of the assistance journey – for example requesting assistance only at certain required stages of travel.

Paul Smith, Director of Consumers at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“The aviation industry has faced unprecedented challenges, but too many passengers at UK airports have been waiting for unacceptable amounts of time for assistance on arriving flights on too many occasions.

“We strongly believe that everyone should have access to air travel, and we welcome the substantial improvements that airports have made for disabled and less mobile passengers.

“We will continue to consider whether we need to take further action where airports are not delivering an acceptable level of performance, and not showing sufficient and sustained improvements. We want to see immediate further improvements, as well as airports being well prepared to provide a high-quality service during next year.”


Notes to editors:

  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Interim Airport Accessibility Report assesses 16 of the largest UK airports by passenger numbers, and the rankings are based on the performance standards against which airports are measured regarding providing a timely assistance service.
  • The report covers the period between 1 April 2022 and 31 October 2022.
  • This report will be followed up by a full-year performance report which will include all airports handling over 150,000 passengers per year, to be published in summer 2023.
  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority took the decision to publish this one-off interim report given the significant challenges faced by the aviation industry in summer 2022.
  • Our Access to Air campaign continues to work with industry to make improvements and promote special assistance and improving the consistency of the service.