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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

Absolutely. Again, that is a helpful contribution. A constituent recently raised with me her embarrassment at what she felt was not the warmest and friendliest welcome when her family, who were visiting Scotland for the first time, were coming through both security and immigration. We want people’s first impression to be that the UK is open for business and welcoming to all, especially given the importance across the UK of the tourism sector, which we certainly want to grow.

I frequently pick up on the inadequacy of signage in airports. When people get off an aeroplane, they are not sure where to go for their bags, to exit, or to access other transport to another airport or into a city centre. I wonder whether that dissatisfaction is ever being captured by the airport. I am sure that a survey would flag that up and I hope that we would then see some improvement. It would certainly have helped me the other day when I inadvertently exited the secure area without picking up my bags and had to go through a long and, to be honest, quite humiliating experience to retrieve my luggage.

I hope that the Minister will see that we have a real opportunity. We may be discussing a minority of passengers, but we are discussing welfare, and the reality is that passengers are sometimes travelling at a time of real stress or crisis. They may be returning home for an ill relative; knowing that they can expect to be treated with dignity and respect in our airports is something of which we could be proud. I urge all hon. Members to seize the opportunity to improve the experience of passengers in all our airports.