Commons Gate

Passengers' Experience of Air Travel (HC 435-iv)

Transport Committee 16 May 2007

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Evidence given at 2.45 p.m. by the Civil Aviation Authority Dr Harry Bush, Group Director, Economic Regulation Mr Richard Jackson, Group Director, Consumer Protection Mr Mike Bell, Group Director, Safety Regulation - at 3.30 p.m. by the Department for Transport Gillian Merron MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Ms Sandra Webber, Head of Civil Aviation Division Mr John Parkinson, Head of Aviation Security, Transec.

Q745 Mr. Eric Martlew: Are we talking about a figure of 60 complaints in a year?

Mr Jackson: Yes.

Q746 Mr. Eric Martlew: Do you think that people actually know to complain to you, or do you think that nobody thinks of complaining to you?

Mr Jackson: No, I think 60 is a fair reflection of the complaints which have been made to us. That is not to say that every other disabled passenger was completely happy. The point I was making is that that figure includes a group of people which goes beyond the disabled, persons with restricted mobility. I was just making the point that what we have picked out of that is a theme that protection of wheelchair carriage by the airlines is something which is an important issue for them.

Q747 Mr. Eric Martlew: So these 60 are all disabled people, is that what you are saying?

Mr Jackson: No, these are 60 complaints about treatment of people who have made special requests, so that includes people who have asked for wheelchair assistance and it also includes people who have asked for special meals, or something like that.

Q748 Mr. Eric Martlew: There must be, perhaps, a million requests a year?

Mr Jackson: I have no idea what the requests are.

Q749 Mr. Eric Martlew: That is what is worrying me. You do not really seem to have an idea and I think there is a complacency here, the fact that you have only got 60 complaints from this category of passengers. I find the idea that that is a representative factor concerning, and your attitude seems to be a bit complacent, to be honest.

Mr Jackson: I do not think it is complacent because we look into them and take them very seriously.

Q750 Mr. Eric Martlew: I suspect there is a great well of complaint out there that you know nothing about and that you do not seem to think you should be tapping into it.

Mr Jackson: We talk to the Disabled Rights Committee, we talk to DPTAC, which is the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, and they are not reflecting back to us that we are somehow not capturing, or indeed the AUC are not capturing a mass of complaints there.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

The full session may be read at

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On behalf of Eric Martlew, 3 Chatsworth Square Carlisle Cumbria CA1 1HB