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UK Civil Aviation Authority reports on disabled access at UK airports

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published its fourth annual report on the disability access of the UK’s largest airports.

  • Top 31 UK airports ranked on accessibility for disabled passengers
  • 14 airports rated as ‘very good’
  • 16 airports rated as ‘good’
  • Five airports have improved their ratings
  • Four airports have had their classification lowered – but remain at ‘good’ levels
  • No airports classified as ‘poor’ for the first time since reporting began

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published its fourth annual report on the disability access of the UK’s largest airports.

The accessibility framework is a world-first and is driving improvements in performance to help improve accessibility across UK airports.

In total, there were a record number of 3.7 million requests for assistance at UK airports in the latest year – a rise of over 80 per cent since 2010.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s accessibility report reveals that 14 airports have been rated ‘very good’. A further 16 airports were rated ‘good’.

Four airports that were classified as ‘very good’ last year received ‘good’ ratings this year, while Manchester Airport was classified as ‘needing improvement’ – although this was an improved rating from ‘poor’ in the previous two years.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority expects Manchester Airport to take immediate action to reverse a recent decline in performance since the end of this reporting year in time for the next accessibility reviews. We have received assurances from the airport that it has plans in place to address this issue and we will be closely monitoring the implementation of these plans and their impact on performance.

For the first time since the framework’s introduction in 2016, no airports were classified as ‘poor’.

To achieve a ‘very good’ classification, airports most provide high quality support on the day of travel as well as keeping in regular contact and consultation with its users.

The report highlights room for improvement, with research showing that nearly a quarter of disabled and less mobile passengers said they requested assistance because the airport environment was becoming more difficult to navigate.

The Civil Aviation Authority will work closely with airports to improve accessibility for disabled passengers.

As part of this drive for improvements, this will be the last year that the accessibility framework will use the current criteria. Since April this year, airports have been assessed using stricter targets, to improve the passenger experience and create a more seamless journey. Airports will need to further improve in order to retain or improve their classifications going forward.

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

“These results show significant improvements to the experience many disabled passengers faced before our reporting began. We hope this will help passengers to feel confident and empowered to travel from UK airports.

“While it is good to see the general improvements, airports will need to continue to work hard to improve, so that they are able to meet the more demanding performance standards that we have now introduced. Where we see examples of bad practice, we will not hesitate to hold airports to account and take the necessary action.”

Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said:

“It is encouraging that almost all of our main airports are rated highly, but there is much more to do.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has introduced more demanding performance measures for airports, and the sector will continue to work to improve the experience for disabled passengers at every stage of their journey.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s accessibility report covered a 12-month reporting period of 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019: CAA Airport Accessibility Report 2018/19

14 airports received ‘Very Good’ status:
Aberdeen, Belfast City, City of Derry, Cornwall Newquay, Doncaster Sheffield, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, Humberside, Kirkwall, Norwich, Southampton, Sumburgh.

16 airports received ‘Good’ status:
Belfast International, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Inverness, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Southend, London Stansted, Newcastle.

1 airport received ‘Needs Improvement’ status:

0 airports received ‘Poor’ status.

Last year’s accessibility report (Airport accessibility report 2017/18) can be found at:

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