HIAL Airports recognised among the nation’s best for disabled access

Two HIAL airports have been recognised for their high levels of service delivery to disabled and mobility restricted passengers in a national survey by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Inverness Airport retained its position in the top band classification for accessibility for a second year. It was joined in the top flight by Sumburgh Airport in Shetland, which becomes one of the elite group of 16 UK airports classified as Very Good.

Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff are also named in the top 16 of the CAA’s Airport Accessibility report 2017/18.

Sumburgh Airport was one of 10 new airports to be listed as Very Good recognising the “excellent service” provided to disabled passengers and those with mobility restrictions.

The report highlighted that top airports “worked hard to ensure standards are maintained; that waiting times are kept short and that users of the assistance service are treated with dignity, care and attention.”

In order to be classed Very Good airports must achieve various benchmarks:

  • The airport consistently exceeds, meets, or is very close to meeting, monthly ‘waiting time’ performance targets
  • The airport scores a rating of ‘good’ or better in the satisfaction survey of users
  • The airport engages very effectively with disability groups
  • The airport publishes on its website monthly information on its performance (by a specified time and in the correct format). Submission to the CAA of the same data
  • The airport has robust processes in place for overseeing how it measures its performance; or, where relevant, the airport has committed to strengthen this oversight.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon, said: “Our commitment to access for all passengers being recognised for a second year acknowledges the hard work by all our staff to ensure our aiports are as inclusive as possible. We work with local disability organisations and individuals to ensure we can better meet their needs and provide assistance to disabled and mobility restricted passengers.

“At Inverness, in the past 12 months we have more facilities for those with additional needs. We opened a Changing Places room in April this year; introduced sunflower lanyards for passengers with hidden disabilities and provided pin badges to staff which easily identifies them as having condition specific disability training.

“Sumburgh Airport’s enhanced disability access was embedded in its £6.5 million refurbishment and staff have worked hard to implement a number of additional improvements to accessibility including changing over our signs for disabled toilets and improving our waiting area. We continued to engage with local disability groups within the community .”

“All HIAL airports engage with our disabled passengers and we provide facilities to enable accessibility for those with visible and hidden disabilities. We hope to have more HIAL airports eligible to be recognised among the best in the country in the future.”

This is the third year the UK’s 30 busiest airports have been assessed by the CAA against a structured performance framework.

Of the airports reviewed, 16 were rated ‘very good’, 10 rated as ‘good’, three rated as ‘needs improvement’ and one rated as ‘poor’.  Those with ‘very good’ and ‘good’ ratings have performed well in areas such as customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations.

The CAA’s framework, the first of its kind in Europe, was introduced to ensure there is a consistent and high quality service for disabled passengers across UK airports. The CAA assesses airports against a number of measures to establish how well they are performing for disabled passengers.  Where airports regularly under-perform, the CAA can take enforcement action to ensure services are improved.