In its annual report published on 11 July the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gave Southampton Airport a rating of ‘Very Good’, one of 14 airports to receive this grade.
Following its recent inspection, the CAA examined the airport for designated arrival points, staff training standards, assistance equipment, quality standards, the quality of passengers’ continuous journey, consultation with charities and organisations, internal audits of service, results of the CAA accessibility surveys, as well as the airport’s improvements in facilities and services for people with disabilities.
Commenting on the recognition, managing director Neil Garwood said: “The dedicated staff at Southampton Airport work extremely hard to continuously improve services for passengers travelling with hidden disabilities and mobility issues.
“We are thrilled to once again have been recognised by the CAA as a leading example of best practice in the UK. Our Passenger Experience team has developed great partnerships with organisations representing the needs of those with mobility issues, and we continue to enhance our team’s disability awareness training, pre-information for passengers and facilities to improve our service for all.”
In 2018, 16,438 passengers with physical and hidden disabilities requested assistance while travelling through the airport, and in the first six months of this year, that number is already close to 10,000.
Southampton Airport works closely with special interest organisations such as Supporting Minds Consultancy, StomaWise, National Autistic Society, Guide dogs, Action on Hearing Loss, Chrohns and Colitis UK and Dementia Friends. Apart from introducing “Helping Hands” lanyards and installing portable hearing loops, the airport provides frequent equality and disability awareness trainings for its frontline team.