The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution has been enlisted by Gatwick to deal with complaints from disabled passengers.

The not for profit organisation providing independent dispute resolution services has pledged to give equal consideration to the word of the consumer and the word of the company.

Legally trained adjudicators are used to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties by considering the evidence presented, the specific circumstances, and other information directly.

The stages in the adjudication process are:

• Passenger complains directly to the airport
• Complaints process concludes without resolution or 8 weeks elapses
• Passenger lodges claim with CEDR including full particulars
• Airline chooses to defend or settle the claim
• Legally trained adjudicators issue decisions on defended claims

The ombudsman service is in addition to Gatwick becoming the UK’s first nationally recognised autism friendly airport.

Chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “While the airport strives to make sure that passengers receive the very best service, we recognise that things can sometimes go wrong.

“In these situations, it’s important to have a fair, simple and clear process in place to resolve difficult disputes, and we are delighted to enlist the help of CEDR – a respected, independent adjudicator that has a reputation for resolving disputes fairly.”

A CAA spokesman said: “We welcome the news that Gatwick Airport has appointed an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider, which will now resolve complaints about the special assistance provided to disabled passengers using the airport.

“If passengers do not get a satisfactory outcome to their complaint from their airline or an airport, using an approved ADR provider gives them a simple way to get a prompt, fair and binding decision on their dispute – meaning they don’t have to resort to court action.

“More than 20 major airlines have already signed up to dispute resolution services, meaning the majority of passengers flying in and out of the UK can call on the help of these services when they have a complaint.

“We continue to encourage further take-up from airlines and want to see more airports follow this news and take action so their passengers can benefit from access to ADR services.”