Last week a UK Civil Aviation Authority report on air travel accessibility was released and was heavily critical of four airports in the UK that are failing disabled passengers. London Stansted, London Gatwick and Birmingham were classified as ‘needs improvement’ and Manchester airport was classified as ‘poor’. While Edinburgh airport and Liverpool airport were commended for the improvements they had made to the service and assistance they offer disabled travellers and people with reduced mobility.
The Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) is one charity that has decided to take a stand and do something about the issue.
To help tackle the problems disabled people have experienced when travelling by air and at airports, QEF set up an Accessible Aviation team, headed by accessibility expert Graham Race. For several years now, this team has been working closely with the aviation industry to help disabled passengers access air travel and offer the information and support they need to have a stress-free experience. This has included holding events in partnership with airports across the UK, to facilitate engagement with their travelling public on accessibility issues, and to highlight and promote good practice.
By working closely with UK airports, airlines and disabled people, QEF are a key partner in helping to improve the service passengers with disabilities receive. This is supported by feedback from a mobility event, Rise 4 Disability, that QEF attended in Peterborough the day before this report was published. Comments included one attendee saying: “I never thought flying was possible until today. Having seen your presentation I will now definitely by flying in the future “
Speaking about the new report that criticises the four UK airports, Graham Race commented: “The CAA’s report highlights that there were three million requests for special assistance in 2017, and that requests for special assistance are increasing at a rate of around double that of general passenger growth. It is therefore vital that the aviation industry focus on giving passengers with reduced mobility and disabilities the assistance they need to travel by air and to make that experience a positive one.”