Following a meeting with airlines and allergy sufferers, the UK Government wants to see improved clarity and consistency in how the aviation industry deals with allergies.
The Aviation Minister, Baroness Liz Sugg, has met with allergy sufferers, medical experts and airlines to explore options for improving the flying experience for those who suffer from nut allergies.
While passenger numbers continue to grow, barriers remain for people with additional needs, such as those suffering from allergies, meaning they are less likely to choose to fly or find the experience more difficult when they do.
The meeting follows the publication of the consultation on the future of aviation, Aviation 2050, which proposes the introduction of a passenger charter. The charter will set out clear standards for a range of passenger issues which could include more consistent information for consumers with allergies.
Baroness Sugg said: “Passengers with nut allergies can face potentially life-threatening challenges when travelling which can cause significant stress and anxiety, especially for families with children. We want to see improved clarity and consistency in how the sector deals with allergies because it is vital that sufferers have the confidence to travel. It is clear that airlines want to help too and build on the good practice that already exists. They will now meet with food allergy sufferers to explore further what more can be done. The Department for Transport will work with industry, the CAA and allergy groups to ensure there is a central point where people can access the allergy policies of individual airlines and the procedures for alerting airlines when there are passengers travelling with allergy needs.”
Some airlines have stopped serving nuts on flights, which provides some reassurance for those with allergies, but the possibility of exposure cannot be fully ruled out. Airlines already take the welfare of their passengers very seriously and have processes in place to enable passengers to notify them in advance of their flight of any allergies to reduce risk and mitigate against potential exposure.
The Government is currently consulting on measures to improve the flying experience for those with nut allergies as part of the Aviation Strategy green paper, and welcomes contributions from interested parties.