London Luton Airport (LLA) has responded to a BBC story about Justin Levene – a paraplegic man – who dragged himself along the floor through the gateway after his self-propelling wheelchair was left behind on a flight in August 2017.
Levene, an international wheelchair athlete, trainer and mentor to disabled athlete, is reportedly suing the airport, although the gateway said he has not served any legal proceedings against London Luton Airport.
At the airport, staff offered to push him through the terminal on a high-backed wheelchair – an option he rejected as degrading. He asked if he could instead be transported in a motorised buggy. However, the airport does not have one.
The airport said in a statement: “On discovering that Mr Levene’s flight from Croatia had arrived without his wheelchair, in August 2017, our teams worked hard to find a solution, offering Mr Levene an assisted wheelchair as a temporary replacement.
“Mr Levene declined all offers of help. Whilst we apologise if Mr Levene was dissatisfied with the service he received, we are satisfied that our agents and staff did all they could in difficult circumstances.”
Last year, LLA said it helped 112,000 passengers with reduced mobility. This year it expects that number to increase to 115,000.
The airport said provision of Special Assistance is paid for by airlines but managed by the airport. London Luton Airport contracts with CCS (Clece Care Services) for this provision.