Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the importance of providing facilities that are accessible and user-friendly for all passengers.
In this ‘Planning & Design’ themed issue of Airport World you will be able to read about some of the most ambitious and exciting airport development projects on the planet ranging from Toronto Pearson’s plans to become a ‘mega hub’ to the proposed creation of an ‘airport city’ around Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
You will also learn more about how innovative airport design is helping enhance the passenger experience; we reflect on a new approach to planning and design; and turn the spotlight on a handful of impressive new retail and F&B projects.
We also briefly touch on the need for airports to consider the requirements of disabled passengers when designing new facilities or enhancing existing ones.
Indeed, in our round-up of the highlights of the recent SMART Airports and Regions Conference and Exhibition in Charlotte, NC, Metropolitan Airport Commission’s director of operations at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, Phil Burke, focused on the outstanding work the gateway has done, and continues to do, to enhance access for people with disabilities.
The topic of airports catering to passengers with disabilities actually made the headlines in the UK in early August when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a report that revealed that the nation’s top 30 gateways are essentially doing a good job when it comes to providing services and facilities for disabled travellers.
Specifically, it said that six of the airports reviewed were rated as ‘very good’, 20 rated as ‘good’, and only four rated as ‘poor’.
Unfortunately, the UK’s biggest airport, London Heathrow, is one of these along with Manchester, East Midlands and Exeter.
The CAA’s director of consumers and markets, Richard Moriarty, said: “Our surveys, along with the airports’ own studies, have shown high levels of satisfaction among disabled passengers and we have seen some examples of excellent service where assistance is well organised and delays are minimal.
“However, East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester have fallen short of our expectations and we have secured commitments from them to make improvements.
“We will monitor their implementation over the coming months to make sure that services for passengers with a disability or reduced mobility continue to improve.”
We will follow developments with interest and plan to write more about what the world’s airports are doing to ensure that they cater to the accessibility needs of all travellers in a future issue.
In addition to the features in the ‘Planning and Design’ section of the magazine, this issue of Airport World also contains articles about the use of biometrics at US airports and airport security, the latter including advice on how you can make your airport cyber resilient and a piece from ACI World’s head of security, Nina Brooks, about the importance of creating a strong security culture.
We also talk to Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s CEO, Howard Eng, about the opportunities and challenges facing Toronto Pearson International Airport; hear from ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, about the benefits of making the optimum use of emerging technologies, processes and design developments; and report on the latest news and views from ACI’s World Business Partners.
I hope you agree that it’s a great issue!