New guidance launched to help UK airports deal with disruption

Posted: 27 November 2014 | The Civil Aviation Authority

UK airports should be better placed to minimise the impact of disruption on passengers thanks to good practice guidance published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)…

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UK airports should be better placed to minimise the impact of disruption on passengers thanks to good practice guidance published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today.

The guidance sets out key principles and recommended practices to help airports work effectively in partnership with airlines, ground handlers and the many other organisations working within airports so they are better prepared for large disruption and can manage it effectively when it does occur. With the aviation industry now gearing up for the winter season, the guidance is a timely reminder of the practical steps airports can take to make sure they are prepared for bad weather and protect their passengers.

The CAA worked with the Airport Operators Association (AOA) to produce the guidance, which is aimed at UK airports with over 1m passengers per year, and reflects many of the existing practices at such airports. For the majority of airports, the guidance is voluntary as the CAA has no powers to regulate resilience measures at airports except Gatwick and Heathrow, which have recently published resilience plans as part of their licence conditions.

The key principles cover collaboration with other organisations operating at airports; identification and management of potential risks; planning and deploying contingency measures; communication with passengers so they know their rights and the latest situation; practicing the procedures they have in place to make sure they are fit for purpose; and learning lessons from past experiences.

Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“Around 230 million people use UK airports each year and the vast majority of them enjoy trouble free journeys. But whether it’s down to bad weather, technical problems or air traffic control issues –things can go wrong that lead to disruption. Most passengers understand this, but do rightly expect airports to be well prepared for potential problems and handle them effectively.

“So whilst we know airports already have contingency plans in place, this guidance will help make sure all the UK’s major airports are well placed to meet passengers’ expectations during disruption and are ready to deal with any potential problems they may face this winter and beyond.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive at the Airport Operators Association, said:
“This guidance has been established to identify measures that will further improve the resilience of UK airports during periods of disruption, for example caused by severe weather.

“Airports work incredibly hard all year round to ensure that the passenger experience is as trouble-free as possible. However we all know that sometimes factors such as weather or industrial action can provide a real challenge, and airports have contingency plans in place to respond to these situations. This guidance will further aid in ensuring that passenger inconvenience is kept to an absolute minimum during times of disruption.”

The guidance is available to view here.

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