New role unveiled in the UK to champion disability issues in airports

Posted: 21 February 2017 | | 1 comment

The UK Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health announces new priority for disabled people in airports.


As part of International Airport Review‘s current focus on Passengers with Restricted Mobility (PRMs), it seems regulators and policy-makers are taking note.

Michael Connolly has been appointed as one of eleven Sector Champions who will drive forward the Government’s ambition to tackle the issues disabled people face as consumers, the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health announced today.

Michael Connolly, Regional Training and Standards Manager for OCS ltd, is the Sector Champion for airports.

The Champions, who represent a range of different sectors and businesses, from leisure to retail, will use their influential status as leaders in their industries to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people.

There are currently more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households – ‘the purple pound’ – is almost £250billion. But many businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by having everyday products and services which aren’t available to disabled people – who, as a result, are regularly excluded from experiences and opportunities that many others take for granted.

The sector champions will amplify the voices of disabled customers and employees within their own industries, increasing accountability and challenging inequality. They will also be able to highlight specific changes and improvements that will make a difference to the millions of people who often miss out.

The more personalised we make the conversation the better the experience for our passengers…

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“As a public advocate for accessibility, Michael Connolly will help businesses realise the value of disabled consumers and the importance of catering to every customer’s needs.

“These industries must become fully inclusive. Not being able to access the high street, products and services, transport or simply to access a loo jars with our national values: it must change.”

The new sector champions will drive improvements to the accessibility and quality of services and facilities in their sector, helping to showcase best practice and show other businesses the merit of making disabled customers a priority.

The Sector Champion for airports, Michael Connolly, said:

“In a people-driven business, we have to learn how to talk to people. We learn more from a, “Where are you off to, Nice?” Than we do from a scripted question. The more personalised we make the conversation the better the experience for our passengers”.

Michael is Regional Training and Standards Manager for OCS Ltd. He believes that the world should be accessible to everyone regardless of ability. As well as managing the trainers at six regional airports, he works with the airports themselves bringing in charities and local support groups improve airports for disabled people.

As part of his work to improve accessibility at airports, Michael holds open days for disability groups around the West Midlands where service users can visit the airport, take a tour and see the assistance that is available. Passenger figures have risen across the hidden disabilities group since he started these tours/open days.

One response to “New role unveiled in the UK to champion disability issues in airports”

  1. John Morgan says:

    Re. Toilet facilities for disabled.
    At last someone has taken note of my suggestion. May I also suggest that the scope be widen to include facilities, or lack of, for disabled on board planes?

    Coach travel also bears a long hard look as again facilities for disabled are virtually non existent.

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