Paralympics Spur Accessibility Improvements at Heathrow

Heathrow has announced a package of permanent accessibility improvements for passengers with reduced mobility, as it welcomed 2,100 Paralympic athletes and officials on the peak arrivals day for the largest ever Paralympic Games.
According to the airport, the Paralympics pose a different operational challenge to the Olympics.  Some flights will have far higher numbers of passengers with reduced mobility – many using wheelchairs – and visual impairments.
In partnership with mobility charity Whizz-Kids, several improvements were suggested, such as increasing the number of specialist lifts, or ambilifts, to 12 – more than any other airport in Europe.  Other improvements included additional staff and volunteer training; obtaining 13 scissor lifts and installing 100 new ramps; upgrading and increasing the airport’s fleet of buggies to 60 vehicles; installing four new lifts to help return wheelchairs to the aircraft door; increasing the number of lightweight aisle chairs and self-propelled wheelchairs to 38 and 20, respectively; providing an on-site wheelchair repair service; and installing new accessible toilets.
The new facilities and additional staff training, which are part of Heathrow owner and operator BAA’s £20 million investment in the London 2012 Games, will continue to benefit passengers long after the event has concluded.  (Image: LHR)