Gatwick wins prestigious award for helping remove barriers faced by passengers with a disability

  • Gatwick award at ACI Europe congress recognises investment and staff training as the airport focuses on giving every passenger an equal opportunity to fly
  • ACI Europe congress sees VINCI Airports sign commitment to become net zero for carbon emissions by 2050, which Gatwick is proud to be part of

Gatwick is delighted to have won ACI Europe’s Accessible Airport Award for its progress in helping to remove barriers that people with disabilities and reduced mobility face when travelling by air.

The Airport Council International Europe is the professional body representing European airports and last night’s award was presented in association with the European Disability Forum – an umbrella organisation that defends the interests of over 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

The award – presented at the ACI Europe’s Annual Congress in Cyprus – was recognition for Gatwick’s drive to improve its services for passengers with a disability, including:

  • Training all frontline staff to recognise and offer appropriate help to passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism and dementia
  • Opening an ‘airline-style lounge’ specifically for passengers with reduced mobility
  • Investing in the UK’s first airport sensory room
  • Initiating what became a UK-wide hidden disability lanyard scheme, which acts as a discreet signal that a passenger may need a little extra help or time

The award was also presented in recognition of Gatwick’s contribution to encouraging other airports to introduce similar schemes and initiatives.

Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Our objective is to give every passenger, regardless of any physical or hidden disability, an equal opportunity to fly.

“This award recognises the significant investment the airport has made into improving our infrastructure, facilities and training. More than anything however this award is for our staff and the way they provide world class assistance to passengers who may require a little extra help when travelling through the airport.”

Making sustainable air travel possible – net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and a 60% reduction by 2030

At the Annual Congress, VINCI Airports – including Gatwick Airport – also ratified ACI Europe’s commitment to achieve net zero CO2 emissions (i.e. without the use of offset) by 2050.

The commitment falls within the drive to improve environmental performance already initiated by VINCI Airports with its AirPact strategy, which was launched in 2015 across all 46 of the airports in its global network. This integrated strategy is the first of its kind in the airport industry and has already enabled VINCI Airports to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% over the last four years notably by installing solar panels and progressively replacing lighting systems with LED solutions.

Nicolas Notebaert, Chief Executive Officer of VINCI Concessions and Chairman of VINCI Airports, said:  

“For us at VINCI Airports, leadership means setting an example. As the world’s leading private airport operator, we consider it is our role to drive change in our industry. And that is what we are doing, proving it is possible to serve an ever-increasing number of passengers in our airports while also improving our environmental performance and quality of service. At a time when people are more than ever on the move, we are paving the way to positive mobility by developing airport models that are more sustainable, more innovative and more inclusive. This is a key step to take to help aviation as a whole to continue to play its part as a strong catalyst of development worldwide.