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Transport / Investigations underway after ‘humiliating’ experience at Glasgow Airport

AIRPORT handling agent Menzies Aviation has apologised to a Shetland family for a humiliating experience at Glasgow Airport earlier this week which resulted in their six-year-old son having to be carried off a Loganair plane down the steps in his wheelchair because a pre-booked ‘ambi-lift’ – just metres away – could not be used.

Both Menzies Aviation and Loganair have launched investigations into the incident.

Mother Emily Jamieson took to social media on Tuesday to write an open letter to the airline and to Glasgow Airport demanding an explanation why the special assistance arrangements that had been booked through the NHS for her six-year-old son, a full time wheelchair user with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and other disabilities, were not in place.

An ambi-lift helps passengers with special assistance or mobility requirements to get on and off planes.

While boarding at Sumburgh went as planned, on arrival at Glasgow passengers were told none of the Menzies ground handling staff was qualified to drive the ambi-lift or the ramp, both parked nearby.

A second wheelchair user on the flight was in the same predicament.

The situation could only be resolved when two members of the ground staff took it upon themselves to carry the boy in his wheelchair down the steps, described as in no way a suitable solution.

Senior vice president UK at Menzies Aviation, Phil Lloyd, said the company was in the process of “contacting the passenger directly to offer our apologies for their experience, which falls short of our high service standards”.

He added: “We take such incidents very seriously as our number one priority is the safety of all our customers and their passengers.

“We will be conducting a full investigation into the incident to ensure that correct procedures are followed in the future.”

Jamieson confirmed this morning (Thursday) that she had been contacted by Lloyd with an apology and an acknowledgement that these failings by Menzies UK were unacceptable and undignified.

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“Their investigation into it is ongoing but to his knowledge two members of ground staff were qualified to operate the relevant machinery to safely disembark disabled passengers,” she added.

Meanwhile Loganair said it was investigating why its “third-party provider at Glasgow Airport failed to provide trained personnel to operate the correct equipment to meet the aircraft”.

“The communication request from Loganair to provide support was correctly sent to our airport ground handling partner, but it appears that for reasons currently under investigation, they were unable to meet their obligations,” a company spokesperson said.

“Loganair cares deeply about all our customers, and we won’t rest until our investigation into this issue is completed and remedies are agreed with our third party to ensure it is not repeated.”

A representative for Glasgow Airport said they were aware of the incident but said it was a matter for the airline and handling agent to deal with.

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