Newcastle Airport achieves highest rating for assistance provided to disabled and less mobile passengers
Newcastle Airport has been placed in the ‘Very Good’ category in the latest Civil Aviation Authority Airport Accessibility Report.
This year marks fifth annual report of its kind, which monitors the performance of UK airports in assisting disabled and less mobile passengers during their journey.
Of the 31 airports included, Newcastle was one of 15 airports to be featured in the highest ‘Very Good’ category. The airport was specifically praised for exceeding all of its performance standards and providing a ‘well researched and extensive training programme for its staff.’
The CAA set up an Airport Accessibility Framework to ensure that airports give disabled and less mobile passengers the confidence to travel knowing that their assistance needs will be met. Introduced in 2014, the framework includes a set of quality standards relating to the assistance services airports provide passengers. These standards feature set metrics relating to the length of time passengers wait to receive assistance as well as softer metrics such as engagement with local disability groups and surveying users of the service.
Newcastle Airport’s Passenger Assistance Team supported over 70,000 passengers with their journey in 2019, an increase of 22% compared to 2018.
Andrew Alexander, Terminal Manager of Newcastle Airport said: “I am extremely proud that the Airport has been ranked ‘Very Good’ for the assistance we provide our passengers. We work closely with local disability groups to ensure we understand the challenges faced by passengers and also provide extensive training to all staff members.
“In 2019 the business invested over £250,000 in new vehicles and equipment dedicated to making travelling through the Airport easier for passengers with disabilities or who are less mobile. We also became one of the first UK airports to install a sensory area for passengers to use in our newly refurbished dedicated Passenger Assistance Lounge.”
Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at the North East Autism Society said: “We are delighted to hear Newcastle Airport have achieved ‘Very Good’ in the latest CAA Accessibility Report.
We have worked in partnership with the team at the airport for a number of years, this has included the development of the Autism Passport and bespoke Accessibility Guides for customers. The aim of this work is to change attitudes, increase staff knowledge and make environmental adjustments to make the journey through the airport better for everyone.
“We look forward to continue this partnership going forward into 2021.”