The government appears to be ignoring pleas to clamp down on significant areas of discrimination against disabled air passengers.
The concerns arose after the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a progress report on its new aviation strategy.
It included suggestions that it could “make flying more accessible for disabled passengers”, including improving assistance on planes and at airports, and “doing more to raise awareness of the assistance already provided at airports”.
The document says DfT is also working with the industry to offer better on-board facilities for disabled passengers, such as “priority wheelchair storage for quick access on arrival”.
Ministers are also examining how manufacturers could improve the design of aircraft to make them more accessible, for example by removing seats to allow passengers to travel in their own wheelchairs and ensuring that all aircraft install an accessible toilet and have an on-board wheelchair that can be used by passengers.
Another option being considered is a review of airport and airline performance standards, including looking at how long they take to provide disabled passengers with assistance boarding and leaving aircraft, and how these standards could be enforced.
This follows widespread media coverage of concerns raised by disabled passengers such as the BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner, who was kept waiting on a plane for nearly two hours last month when he was told staff had lost his wheelchair.
He said on social media at the time that he was “utterly sick” of staff at Heathrow Airport repeatedly losing his wheelchair when he returned from foreign trips.