The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released a practice guidance to minimise the impact of disruption on passengers and help the airports to handle it better.
The guidance deals with setting out principles and practices to help airports to work in partnership with airlines, ground handlers and other organisations working within airports.
The key principles cover collaboration with other organisations operating at airports, identification and management of potential risks, planning and deploying contingency measures, communication with passengers so they know their rights and the latest situation, practising the procedures they have in place to make sure they are fit for purpose and learning lessons from past experiences.
CAA group director for regulatory policy Iain Osborne said: "Around 230 million people use UK airports each year and the vast majority of them enjoy trouble free journeys. But whether it’s down to bad weather, technical problems or air traffic control issues -things can go wrong that lead to disruption. Most passengers understand this, but do rightly expect airports to be well prepared for potential problems and handle them effectively.
"So whilst we know airports already have contingency plans in place, this guidance will help make sure all the UK’s major airports are well placed to meet passengers’ expectations during disruption and are ready to deal with any potential problems they may face this winter and beyond."
The CAA worked on the guidance with the Airport Operators Association (AOA), keeping in mind one million passengers who use UK airports each year.
As the CAA has no power to regulate resilience measures at airports except Gatwick and Heathrow, which have recently published resilience plans as part of their licence conditions, adoption of the guidance is voluntary for most of the airports.
AOA CEO Darren Caplan said: "This guidance has been established to identify measures that will further improve the resilience of UK airports during periods of disruption, for example caused by severe weather. This guidance will further aid in ensuring that passenger inconvenience is kept to an absolute minimum during times of disruption."