Newcastle Airport recognised 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.

The CAA Report monitors the performance of UK airports in assisting disabled and less mobile passengers during their journey. Of the 31 airports assessed, 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.’

Newcastle Airport’s Passenger Assistance Team supported over 70,000 passengers with their journey in 2019, an increase of 22 percent 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.’

The CAA has set up an Airport Accessibility Framework to ensure that airports give disabled and less mobile passengers the required assistance to travel confidently. The framework was introduced in 2014 and includes a set of quality standards relating to the assistance services airports provide passengers. These standards include 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.

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.’

Manchester airport trials escort service

Manchester airport is conducting the trial of an escort service that it describes as ‘friendly guides’.

The service has been introduced so that ‘friendly guides’ can help arriving and departing passengers through the airport. Departing passengers will be met at check-in and have the service of their guide until they board their aircraft. The £50 cost includes up to four departing passengers in a party, while the cost for a party of four arriving passengers is £40. There is a £5 per person charge for additional members of a group, up to a total group size of six.

The concept of using knowledgeable members of staff to guide passengers is one that has been adopted by a number of other major airports.

Tricia Williams, Manchester airport’s customer service director, said, ‘The purpose of this service is to take the stress out of travelling. The ‘Friendly Guide’ will be your dedicated guide to meet you at your point of arrival, whether that be at a car park, bus stop, taxi drop off or the train station and take you to your check-in desk before fast-tracking you through security.

‘We recognised from feedback that some passengers who drop off relatives are not familiar with the airport and that this small gesture would be greatly appreciated. With this service, people can relax safe in the knowledge that their relatives have been looked after from the moment they’ve arrived at Manchester airport and be told the moment their family member is on the correct flight.’

Initially the service will only be available for the trial period in Manchester airport’s Terminal 2, but the intention is to make it available to all terminals in time for the big summer getaway.