Christiane Link is a journalist and award-winning businesswoman. She covers current affairs for German media outlets and is a frequent flyer who has visited all continents and nearly 100 airports worldwide. She has a master’s degree equivalent in Political Science from the University of Hamburg and has been an active member of the German and British disability movement for over 20 years. Christiane is passionate about access to transport for all, and believes everyone should be able to travel the world. In accordance with this belief, she has developed disability equality training as well as accessibility consulting, and her company delivers this throughout Europe to enterprises of all sizes, from small businesses to Stock Exchange listed companies, including leading airlines, airports and transport providers. She is also a member of the CAA Access to air travel advisory group.
Anne has spent 30 plus years in the NHS working in hospitals, care homes, and the communities. She was appointed the role of Project Manager for the Army Recovery Capability project which provided essential education and rehabilitation support to serving Armed Forces personnel suffering from debilitating and underlying health conditions including PTSD. Anne also worked for the Royal British Legion as a disability employment advisor and The Department for work and pensions. Having been struck down by a neurological disorder, Anne is now restricted to using a walking stick on a good day and a wheel chair on her bad days… however, Anne is passionate about making a difference with a smile and first class service to make the start and end of a journey a happy and pleasant experience at Heathrow.
Martin is a prominent disability activist and the author of ‘Everything is Possible’, a book on his series of travel adventures that took him from the warm waters of Mexico to the snowy peaks of Catalonia. Since 2011 Martyn has run Disability Horizons, a disability lifestyle publication which focuses on the aim of a world where disabled people can live exactly as they choose to. In 2015 he co-founded Accomable, a platform to help disabled people find accessible hotels, vacation rentals and apartments. The business was bought by Airbnb in 2017.
Graham Race is a pioneer in the field of access to commercial flight for disabled people, having designed the award winning MERU TravelChair and setting up QEF’s ‘Tryb4ufly’. Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation (QEF) is a UK national charity that provides a range of services for disabled people. Tryb4uFly provides information, confidence and practical demonstration for disabled people who are considering flying. It has three mock aircraft cabin in London, Birmingham and Leeds where disabled people can try equipment and discuss their flight. Having a child with a disability has increased Graham’s desire to see the availability of life changing products and services for disabled people, their families and the services that support them, and is passionate about the role that aviation can play to inspire independence and achieve life goals.
Clive brings a wealth of experience ranging from property management and development to chair of a school governing body and local community interest groups on both residential and business platforms. The voice of balance even humour in raising issues to the fore-front for consideration is paramount to all aspects of engaging people to enjoy access through travel around the world. Turning the page when approaching travel with a disability is something Clive is passionate about, bringing to the table a forecast of improvement to air travel as well as direction to positive solutions in overcoming hurdles.
Chris is a campaigner and lobbyist, in aviation and disability, he is a member of the UK Civil Aviation Authorities ‘Access to Air Travel’ advisory group. As well as a desire to create and improve the whole air access journey, Chris has also set his sights on bringing wheelchair air travel in line with land and sea. His goal is to establish the solution “to enable a wheelchair user to stay in their chair whilst on a flight” – it’s hard to imagine that this has not already been facilitated. His two children now in their twenties are keen to travel, he does not want the fact that they are both in wheelchairs to hinder their aspirations in both work and of course pleasure. A common yearning to everyone who uses a wheelchair.
Libby is general manager at Colostomy UK, a national charity that supports people with stomas (ostomates). Like others with hidden conditions, ostomates find air travel and the airport experience challenging. Libby is passionate about changing this, and making access to travel the same for everyone. She is an active member on the Civil Aviation Authority’s Air Travel Advisory Group. She also works directly with a number of UK airports in an advisory capacity. This involves guiding decision makers, helping them to make practical changes to airport infrastructure and processes, as well as ensuring that in-house training equips customer-facing staff with the tools to deal compassionately and empathically with the needs of travellers with disabilities and hidden conditions.
Geraldine Lundy – Virgin Atlantic
Geraldine has worked for nineteen years in the aviation industry enabling people with disabilities to fly as safely and comfortably as possible. Her passion for this has led her to be recognised as a subject matter expert in this area around the globe. Although huge advances have been made in recent years there are still many improvements that can be initiated. Geraldine is committed to working with others in the industry to improve processes, procedures, equipment and training further so that air travel becomes as pleasant and accessible for as many people as possible.
Antony Mark – OmniServ
Antony began his Airport Career at Heathrow in 1994 and later joined ISS Aviation’s management team. He was part of the team that completed the management buyout of the airside activities from ISS in 1999. In 2008 he embarked on a new joint venture in providing ‘last mile’ including in-flight catering and airport logistics. In 2010 he joined Omniserv as Director of Passenger Services and has successfully implemented higher service delivery contracts at various airports and for various airlines. For the last 2 years he has been the Managing Director of Omniserv.
Tonia Fielding – Heathrow Airport
Tonia Fielding is Head of Customer Relations and Service for our Eastern Campus, comprising Terminals 2 and 4. As well as leading the customer experience in these terminals, Tonia also leads our key passenger experience contracts including Passenger Ambassadors and Special Assistance as well as managing the airport relationship with UK Border Force. Tonia has over 15 years’ experience leading operations across several established UK brands including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and British Airways. She was also part of the leadership team for spectator services at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic games. When not at work Tonia can usually be found running, swimming and cycling around Windsor.
Ciara Thorn – Heathrow
Ciara Thorn is Heathrow’s Customer Relations Manager – Care. Ciara worked for British Midland as Customer Services Manager at Heathrow for 14 years and had a central role in leading the airline’s integration into BA in 2012. Ciara has worked for Heathrow Airport for 6 years now and in that time she has worked in operations management, project management and the commercial service proposition. Her most recent role has been Customer Operations Manager – Special Assistance, working on Heathrow Care proposition developing the business cases and projects that will ensure that Heathrow is accessible and inclusive for all and that customers can fly through Heathrow in the way that they choose. Ciara’s 20 years experience in the airline and aviation industry means she is well placed to drive the change and continuous improvement required, so that Heathrow delivers an inclusive service culture, both now and in the future.
Michael Carver – British Airways
Michael has been part of British Airways’ management team for over 20 years, four of these as Customer Service Manager at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Prior to this, he was heavily involved with designing operating processes at Heathrow. Michael’s expertise includes Check-in, Ticketing, Premium products, Lounge processes and processes for customers with disabilities. He has also worked as a Development Executive at ba.com, a oneworld Executive, a Continuous Improvement Executive and a Sales and Reservations agent. As Manager of the PRM Improvement Programme, Michael will be working closely with HAL and Omniserv to ensure that customers with disabilities receive a service that exceeds their expectations, makes their journey as comfortable as possible and that their disability in no way inhibits them from receiving anything that is offered to all other customers.
Edwina is the General Secretary of the LHR AOC representing the interest of 83 Airlines. Following a short induction to the industry through Virgin Atlantic, Edwina spent 7 years with Aer Lingus, gaining knowledge in operations and marketing, while simultaneously obtaining her Chartered Marketing Accomplishment. This was followed by a year in IATA and then back to Heathrow Operations working for Air New Zealand. She was appointed to the AOC in 2005. Edwina has been involved with Championing the Passenger with Reduced Mobility cause since the EU Legislation in 2007 and has sat on all the subsequent LHR Tender negotiations as the voice the Heathrow Airline Community.