A new report has revealed Heathrow Airport needs to do more to help passengers with a disability or reduced mobility.
In a quality of assistance assessment of 30 UK airports carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the west London airport was rated at the lower end of the scale for its standards in special assistance.
Heathrow is considered to be 'taking steps' to improve its performance along with 11 other airports, missing out on a spot in the 'good' or 'very good' rank but achieving better than a 'poor' score.
The report is based on a new performance framework for 2015/16 assessing each airport against key measures to ensure consistent quality service and improvement.
- How long passengers have to wait for assistance
- Level of passenger satisfaction with the assistance provided, gathered from CAA surveys
- How much consultation airports had with disability organisations regarding assistance services; consultation methods used, if issues were addressed and what, if any, action was taken
It allows the aviation regulator to identify dips in performance which can then be addressed with the relevant airports, and where necessary take enforcement action so services are improved for travellers.
Under European regulations, airports and airlines must provide help and support to reduced mobility passengers with the aim of providing a better experience in air travel.
CAA head of consumer enforcement, Matthew Buffey, said passengers who require special assistance are dependent on airport staff from the moment they arrive and therefore airports must get it right.
“We have worked closely with airports to help drive improvements and provide practical guidance where needed, added Mr Buffey.
“Overall we are pleased that performance has generally been good, with some excellent examples of airports supporting their passengers who have mobility needs.
“Providing a consistently high quality assistance service to disabled people and those with reduced mobility should be a top priority for the senior management of UK airports, and we do not expect standards to slip.
“To ensure that this is the case, we will continue to monitor performance standards and, where any issues do arise, take action quickly to protect the rights of disabled people and those with reduced mobility.”