New Accessibility User Group at Sumburgh Airport

Photo: Brian Gray

In keeping with similar initiatives across the rest of the HIAL Group, the new Accessibility User Group for Sumburgh Airport held its first meeting on March 6.  Representatives attended from several key groups – NHS Patient Travel, Disability Shetland, Shetland Carers, Dementia Scotland, Shetland Community Connections, and individuals who were representing wheelchair users and those with visual impairments.

The Airport Management team and Loganair’s Customer Service Manager also attended.

The main key aims of this new group are to:

  • Represent the interests of all users who require additional support at the airport terminal and provide information on the services available
  • Act as a constructive and supportive body to seek and give feedback on the quality of service being provided to users requiring accessibility support
  • Explore training options for airport staff to assist understanding of additional needs thereby contributing to an empathetic service provision.

At the first meeting a number of areas were discussed including queries being put to both the airport and Loganair about processes.

Suggestions from the group discussions included placing a suggestion box in both the departures lounge and the main concourse; providing training to staff on types of disabilities and illnesses (including how to better deal with passengers, including children); setting up a quiet room; providing additional seating in areas where queues form; using lanyards or badges to identify individuals who may need assistance; and finally, the possibility of applying for a grant to install a Changing Places room.

The group concluded the meeting with a tour of the airport facilities and specifically looking at the equipment available to those requiring extra assistance.

Susan Myles, Airport Services Manager, who chaired the group said: “This was such a positive meeting with constructive suggestions from all members.  In addition, we found as an airport team we learnt so much from the group that it made it easier for us to understand the issues and how we can do things better.”

The Accessibility User Group will meet on a bi-annual basis with the next meeting scheduled for September.