Doncaster Sheffield Airport provides 'good' service for disabled people but improvements are needed, says report

Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport provides a good service for disabled people but must make improvements in some areas, a report has found.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority today published a report that assesses the top 30 UK airports on the quality of assistance they provide to passengers with a disability.

The Finningley-based airport was one of 20 airports rated as 'Good', while six received the top rating of 'Very Good' and four were ranked as 'Poor'.

The report described the service as 'satisfactory' but the CAA added that it was 'disappointed to encounter issues that we identified over the year with management oversight at these airports, in particular in regard to recording against ‘waiting time’ standards.'

A CAA spokesman said this could be related to staff recording how long it took to give disabled people assistance in getting off aircraft and getting around the airport.

The report added: "Although airports can contract out the assistance service to a third party, it is important that airport management remember that the legal responsibility is still theirs, and that they must ensure that contracted providers accurately record their performance in providing the assistance service."

Other airports in the wider region included Humberside which rated as 'Very Good' and Leeds Bradford 'Good' while East Midlands and Manchester were ranked as 'Poor'.

The report also showed the number of people with a disability requesting extra help when travelling by air across the UK continues to grow and reached more than three million journeys in 2016 – a rise of over 66 per cent since 2010.

Richard Moriarty, CAA director of consumers and markets, said: "Our surveys, along with the airports’ own studies, have shown high levels of satisfaction among disabled passengers and we have seen some examples of excellent service where assistance is well organised and delays are minimal.

"However, East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester have fallen short of our expectations and we have secured commitments from them to make improvements."

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling added: "It is encouraging to see the overwhelming majority of UK airports providing a good service for passengers with a disability, but I am determined to push the aviation industry to do more."

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: "The instances referred to in the CAA’s report were down to reporting, the team – as always – were there to help passengers in need of assistance. We rectified this reporting problem quickly as recognised in the CAA’s report, working closely with Interserve, the organisation which delivers this service on our behalf.

“Interserve staff have since developed a dedicated smart phone app to record times for the CAA and this method has since been audited by the CAA and deemed satisfactory.

“We are continuously focussed on the accessibility of our terminal and site to our passengers and staff. To this end in December 2016, we undertook anindependent disability assessment audit.

“The audit, which was conducted by a local pan-disability charity Live Inclusive, provided valuable insights which have been adopted as part of ourongoing programme of improvements currently underway. "