George Best Belfast City Airport has been awarded a ‘Very Good’ rating for its accessibility services for the third consecutive year in an annual Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report.
The rating, which is the highest accolade available, is given to airports that have provided a consistent and high-quality service to passengers requiring assistance.
In addition to investing in innovative solutions to ensure each passenger has a hassle-free and comfortable journey, Belfast City Airport has regular consultations with disability groups such as Autism NI, Guide Dogs NI, and the Urostomy Association with the aim of listening to and responding to the advice provided.
This includes becoming the first airport in the UK to install accessible security preparation and repack stations and encouraging users to provide feedback to continually improve the service.
Judith Davis, Airport Operations Manager at Belfast City Airport, commented:
We are delighted to have retained our ‘Very Good’ accessibility rating once again. Ensuring the comfort and care of our passengers is vital, and our staff work hard to ensure passengers have a stress-free and relaxing journey.
“This year we have implemented a number of additional security and hygiene measures to help keep our passengers and staff safe. As a result of the ongoing contact with local accessibility groups, we were able to communicate these changes quickly and directly with our passengers and the users of the groups.
“For users of the accessibility services, this means Special Assistance staff will be wearing the appropriate PPE and offer passengers the choice to use a RambleTag guidance aid. We also teamed up with the NI Hearing Loss Society to provide training to our staff on the impact of social distancing and wearing of PPE for deaf and hard of hearing passengers.
“All of our wheelchairs and touchpoints on vehicles are sanitised before and after each use with a thorough sanitising routine also taking place throughout the terminal each day.”
The CAA's unique framework is assessed according to three criteria: performance against waiting times, user satisfaction, and effectiveness of consultation with their local disability community.
Paul Smith, Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“We want all passengers to feel confident with the flying experience. As the industry looks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and consumers plan their travel for 2021, we hope that passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities feel confident about the services they will receive.”
A total of 31 airports were surveyed with 15 ranking ‘Very Good’, 13 ranking ‘Good’, and 3 ranking as ‘Needs Improvement’.