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NEWS Last modified on November 25, 2014

CAA publishes new guidance for UK airports

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published new guidance for UK airports, which it says should help gateways be “better placed to minimise the impact of disruption on passengers”.

The guidance sets out key principles and recommended practices to help airports work effectively in partnership with airlines, ground handlers and other organisations working with them so they are better prepared for large disruption and can manage it effectively when it occurs.

As the aviation industry gears up for the winter season, the guidance the CAA explains 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, aimed at UK airports with over one million passengers per year, and it says reflects many of the existing practices being carried out.

For the majority of airports, the guidance is voluntary as the CAA has no powers to regulate resilience measures except at 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, says: 
“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 of the AOA says the guidance will further aid in ensuring that passenger inconvenience is kept to an "absolute minimum disruption".

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