Edinburgh Airport Incident: BAA Knew of Possible Disruptions Days Before the Event
- Written by Roberto Castiglioni
New information surfaced in recent days, suggesting Edinburgh Airport managing body BAA was aware of potential disruptions days before six disabled passengers were left stranded by Easyjet.
First reported by David McCann on the Edinburgh Evening News (opens a new window), it has now emerged that in the weeks prior to the incident, an EasyJet top executive informed Edinburgh Airport via email that passengers with reduced mobility "will be refused travel and bags off-loaded if not at the gate and ready to board." Edinburgh Airport baggage handler Menzies Aviation and THS Scotland, BAA sub-contractor providing services and assistance to disabled passengers, were also informed.
Article 8, paragraph 2, of EU Regulation 1107/2006 stipulates that "the managing body may provide such assistance itself. Alternatively, in keeping with its responsibility, and subject always to compliance with the quality standards referred to in Article 9(1), the managing body may contract with one or more other parties for the supply of the assistance."
In Edingburgh's Airpot case, the managing body, BAA, made use of its prerogative to sub-contract assistance to people with reduced mobility to THS Scotland. However, the law clearly stipulates that legal responsibility and accountability remains with BAA.
According to the Edinburgh Evening News report, Menzies Aviation management sent a message to staff, blaming THS Scotland for delaying flights and urging workers to "show THS that we will no longer tolerate them arriving late . . . and delaying our departure".
It is unclear why baggage handler Menzies Aviation feels entitled to bully THS Scotland, ultimately its contractor BAA.
Weeks after this exchange of correspondence six passengers with reduced mobility booked on an Esyjet flight from Edinburgh to Belfast were left stranded at the gate. Easyjet justifies leaving the group of six disabled passengers at the gate and off-loading their luggage because the "necessary assistance was unavailable at the time of boarding".
Dale Rabét, owner of THS Scotland, told the Edinburgh Evening News he was "very disappointed" by the incident and vowed he would "personally investigate what went wrong".
While parties involved are trying to sugar coat their role in the Edinburgh Airport incident, the real picture of the causes behind the event is surfacing. According to reports, THS Scotland have to cope with a huge increase in the number of flights at BAA Edinburgh Airport, which causes services delays at peak times.
Edinburgh Evening News (opens a new window)