Edinburgh Airport marks World Autism Awareness Day with new support package

Marking World Autism Awareness Day, Edinburgh Airport has launched a support package to help passengers with autism and other additional support needs travel through the airport effortlessly.

The first project of its kind in Scotland, Edinburgh Airport developed the new ‘Travelling with Additional Needs’ toolkit to help autistic passengers and their families inwith navigating their way through a busy airport. The package has been developed in association with Scottish Autism, the airport’s corporate charity partner for 2014, and disability equality group Wideaware.

The toolkit comprises a series of factsheets – easy step-by-step airport guide – focusing on different sections of the airport journey which may be particularly stressful. It will further be supported by hands-on initiatives including advance walk-throughs for passengers with autism, in a wheelchair, or even someone who may not have been in an airport before.

David Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘Our specially designed toolkit and the wider support package have been specifically designed for those passengers who may need a little bit of help or reassurance before they fly, whether that is information on where to find their check in desk or how to use a self-service machine.

‘We firmly believe that everyone who wants to fly can fly and we’re committed to making sure all of our passengers have the best experience possible. We have an amazing team here at Edinburgh Airport and we’ll continue to work to ensure our services are of the highest standard.’

Charlene Tait, Director of Development at Scottish Autism, said: ‘We know of many people living with autism who, along with their families, are disenfranchised from air travel because they simply cannot cope with the stress and trauma of an airport.

This new initiative with Edinburgh Airport is a great starting point in trying to change this situation. The toolkit and other support measures have the potential to really help people with autism and other support needs by making them more aware of what they can expect in an airport environment and help them prepare in advance.’

Edinburgh Airport is also working with airlines such as easyJet and British Airways to help facilitate bespoke courses for people with a fear of flying.