Leeds Bradford Airport is working closely with a range of support organisations across Yorkshire to ensure the airport is as accessible as possible for people with disabilities.
For around a year, team members at LBA have worked closely with several organisations and the people they support to hear their views of passenger assistance requirements and to lead behind the scenes tours.
This has given organisations and their members the chance to experience first-hand the assistance they would receive when travelling through LBA; as well as give them the opportunity to pass on their feedback as to what improvements could be made.
In addition, the airport has worked closely with on-site passenger assistance company OCS and has delivered training to operational team members about how best to support people with disabilities and ‘hidden’ disabilities, such as autism, travelling through the airport.
Organisations working closely with LBA include Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Leeds Autism Services, William Merritt Centre, Little Hiccups, Aspire and AVSED.
Helen Pearce, Head of Passenger Services at LBA, said: “Customer service is incredibly important to us and we are continually looking at ways to improve the passenger journey for all customers. We have learnt a huge amount from all of the organisations we have worked with over the last year and their time has been invaluable. I’d like to say a big
thanks to all involved in the Disability Awareness work undertaken so far.
“Our aim is to make the passenger experience as smooth as possible for everyone and that very much includes people with all disabilities requiring assistance when travelling through the airport.
We have listened to all feedback and have implemented everything possible in order to reduce anxieties around travelling, which can seem daunting to those who have a disability, especially when that disability may be ‘hidden’. We are the start and end point for passengers and we want to ensure they have a great journey from start to finish.”
Debbie Linford, Engagement Officer for Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “I have been working with LBA for around a year and it’s great to work together. These familiarisation visits are valuable for both the owners and their dogs; getting everybody used to the
airport environment. This helps to take away some of the unknown. Just because somebody has lost their sight, it doesn’t mean they have to lose their holidays and this partnership really does help people feel at ease.”
Elizabeth White, of Baildon, visited the airport with her guide dog, Mary, and they will soon both fly for the first time together. She said: “It’s just been such a great opportunity to experience everything in the airport that we will come across; it’s put us at ease. It’s been good to chat with the staff at LBA about everything – they have given us so much time to walk us around everything and explain processes.”