Gatwick establishes Ombudsman service to resolve disputes

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  • Ombudsman to resolve disputes between the airport and the services it provides to help Passengers with Reduced Mobility
  • Ombudsman is ‘a respected, independent adjudicator that has a reputation for resolving disputes fairly’
  • CAA urges more airports to ‘follow this news and take action’ so their passengers can benefit from access to dispute resolution services

Gatwick has established an ombudsman service to resolve disputes between the airport and the services it provides to help Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM), including those with a disability or who experience other issues getting around the airport.

Gatwick has enlisted the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) – a not for profit organisation providing independent dispute resolution services – to give equal consideration to the word of the consumer and the word of the company.

CEDR operates a panel of legally trained adjudicators to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties by considering the evidence presented, the specific circumstances, and other information directly.  The stages in the adjudication process are:

  • Passenger complains directly to the airport
  • Complaints process concludes without resolution or 8 weeks elapses
  • Passenger lodges claim (with CEDR) including full particulars
  • Airline chooses to defend or settle the claim
  • Legally trained adjudicators issue decisions on defended claims

The ombudsman service for the airport’s PRM service is addition to Gatwick recently becoming the UK’s first nationally recognised Autism Friendly airport, after appointing the airport’s first Autism Ambassador and rolling out a hidden disability lanyard scheme to help passengers who may require additional support.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said

“While the airport strives to make sure that passengers receive the very best service, we recognise that things can sometimes go wrong.  In these situations, it’s important to have a fair, simple and clear process in place to resolve difficult disputes, and we are delighted to enlist the help of CEDR – a respected, independent adjudicator that has a reputation for resolving disputes fairly.”

John Munton, Director of Dispute Resolution Services, CEDR said:

“It is an honour to have been chosen by such a prestigious airport to provide this service. We are looking forward to working with Gatwick and their passengers in the years to come.”

A CAA spokesperson said: “We welcome the news that Gatwick Airport has appointed an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider, which will now resolve complaints about the special assistance provided to disabled passengers using the airport.

“If passengers do not get a satisfactory outcome to their complaint from their airline or an airport, using an approved ADR provider gives them a simple way to get a prompt, fair and binding decision on their dispute – meaning they don’t have to resort to court action.

“More than 20 major airlines have already signed up to dispute resolution services, meaning the majority of passengers flying in and out of the UK can call on the help of these services when they have a complaint. We continue to encourage further take-up from airlines and want to see more airports follow this news and take action so their passengers can benefit from access to ADR services.”

Passengers can make claims online via the CEDR website (www.cedr.com/aviation) which will allow them to track the progress of their claim online. Applications can also be accepted by post, with additional support also provided to passengers that need it.

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