CAA and DFT outline pre-summer improvement areas for aviation sectorTravel And Tour World

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Published on : Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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The CAA and Department for Transport have written to airlines and airports recommending improvements in operations, planning and services ahead of the summer.

The joint letter from CAA chief Richard Moriarty and Rannia Leontaridi, the DfT’s director general for aviation, was released on Tuesday (14 June) and outlines five key areas to be looked at by the industry.

The recommendations follow a meeting between government and the aviation sector earlier this month after what the CAA and DfT branded “unacceptable scenes” amid half-term disruption.

While the CAA and DfT said they recognised some airports and airlines had “continued to deliver a good service despite pressures” and acknowledged recent problems, such as air traffic control delays, had been out of their control, the bodies also said they expected “all possible steps” to be taken to prepare for and manage summer holiday demand.

The letter said that they all share a common goal to de-risk the summer period but we believe more needs to be done to give us all better assurance that this goal will be delivered.

The five areas highlighted by the CAA and DfT in the letter are:

Each airline must review its schedule until the end of September to develop deliverable services based on expected resources, while the aviation sector should also be resilient in the face of unplanned and inevitable operational challenges. Cancellations should be announced “at the earliest possibility”.

Leaders at each airport should take a leading role to bring together airlines, ground handlers, air traffic controllers and Border Force staff to create working groups to “ensure a more coordinated strategic approach”.

Working groups will report to a new “strategic risk group” being created with industry bosses and chaired by aviation minister, Robert Courts.

When there are unavoidable cancellations, delays and denied boarding cases, passengers should be “promptly, clearly and empathetically communicated with”, with communications including information of customers’ consumer rights relating to refund and compensation routes.

Refunds should also be paid “in good time” and the CAA said it “will not hesitate to escalate matters” with its enforcement role.

Improvements should also be made to the assistance given to disabled and less mobile passengers, with the CAA writing to airports and airlines highlighting concerns about the levels of assistance provided.

Safety and security “must not be compromised”, the CAA and DfT stressed, urging the aviation sector not take security for granted when trying to meet increased customer demands this summer.

The CAA and DfT said they would continue to work with the industry and may expand the list of improvement recommendations.

Let’s start with working together to make sure the summer is a great success for the British public, the letter added.

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