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Clause 18 - Licence conditions

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 2:00 pm, 1st March 2012

There we are. It appears we are in absolute agreement after all. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for clarifying that.

The hon. Member for Finchley and Golders Green questioned the value of a snapshot of passengers’ experiences, and I can see the limitations, but I still think the proposed measure has great value because I cannot imagine that many airports would simply do that annual survey. If I were the manager of an airport, I would perhaps want to do a small survey before the annual survey, just to get an indication of what was going on and where the problems would be. I foresee an opportunity in the transport sector. We have national transport awards; perhaps if we had this annual survey, the passenger experience could move up the agenda and airports could be rewarded for their contribution to customer service.

If we had taken that snapshot during the volcanic ash episode, it would have been an extreme picture and perhaps not typical of every passenger’s experience, but I still think the industry could have learned valuable lessons from those most extreme of circumstances. My own experience at the end of last year, flying back up to Edinburgh when we had the gales, was that while travelling out to the airport, it was clear from knowing that one flight was cancelled that all the flights from about 2 that afternoon till the end of the evening would be cancelled, as well. For some reason, though, the airport let us through security and then we were stranded in no man’s land; it was difficult to progress. Communication is certainly a key area where standards could be improved.

Anyone going to A and E or as an out-patient to other hospital services sees a charter. When they were introduced people thought they were meaningless, but it is incredibly empowering for patients. I would like to see airports doing the same—setting out for people the kind of standards that they should expect at the airport.