Dublin Airport Wins European Accessibility Award


Image above: Dublin Airport Managing Director, Vincent Harrison accepting the Accessible Airport Award from Yannis Yallouros, European Disability Forum's Executive Committee.

 

Dublin Named Best Airport in Europe for Accessibility at ACI EUROPE Awards

Dublin Airport has won a major European award for the way in which it deals with disabled passengers and those travelling with reduced mobility.

Dublin Airport won the inaugural Accessible Airport Award at ACI EUROPE’s Best Airport Awards in Athens last night. Separately Dublin Airport was also short-listed in the best large airport category, which was won by Heathrow Airport.

“We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award for accessibility ahead of all our European peers,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. “This award recognises the significant efforts that the Dublin Airport team makes on a daily basis to ensure that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility have the best possible airport experience. Winning this prize is a major endorsement for what we have achieved in this area to date and will encourage us to continue to improve the service that we offer to our disabled customers and to travellers with reduced mobility.”

The judges for the award found that Dublin Airport “excels in accessibility features and facilities, including adult changing places, two separate relief areas for guide dogs, fully accessible retail and catering areas” and had service level agreements for assistance provision that exceed the European standards. The judges also cited Dublin Airport’s website accessibility, which meets the required accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

“This is Dublin Airport’s second major customer-related award in just four months, which underscores our focus on ensuring that all our passengers have the best possible experience when they use the airport,” Mr Harrison said. Earlier this year Dublin Airport was rated number one for passenger experience ahead all other European airports of a similar size in the 2015 ACI Airport Service Quality survey.

 “As passenger numbers increase, we intend to continue to enhance the passenger experience for all customers. We are currently investing €10 million to upgrade the arrivals area in Terminal 1 and we also have recently installed new automatic tray return systems at passenger screening to help make this process more efficient.”

The Accessible Airport Award was introduced by ACI Europe this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Regulation (EC) 1107/2006 which relates to the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

ACI EUROPE partnered with the European Disability Forum (EDF) to present the new award. As well as rewarding the best airport in Europe for accessibility the award was also designed to encourage other European airports to continue their work on removing the barriers that people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility still face when travelling by air.

The judging panel for the Accessible Airport Award comprised members of the European Disability Forum’s Executive Committee as well as Fotis Karamitsos, Acting Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport; Coordination of Directorates C and D, in the European Commission.

The Accessible Airport Award was presented to Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison at a gala dinner in Athens last night by Yannis Yallouros, who is a member of the European Disability Forum’s Executive Committee.

Dublin Airport is Ireland’s key international gateway, accounting for 82% of all air passengers into and out of the State. Last year Dublin Airport celebrated its 75th birthday by setting a new a new all-time record for traffic, as it welcomed more than 25 million passengers.  So far this year, passenger numbers are up 14% to almost 10.3 million. Dublin Airport has direct flights to over 180 destinations in 40 countries on four continents, and will welcome 16 new services this year.

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SWISS website now accessible to all


Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) makes its air travel services as available to its customers as it possibly can. This policy applies to all its online facilities, too: the core functions of the swiss.com website have now been made fully accessible to blind and visually impaired users or customers with other physical disabilities. SWISS has thus extended the accessibility of its services at the airport and inflight to its online platform, too.

The core functions of the swiss.com website have been comprehensively overhauled to make them accessible to all. As a result, blind and visually impaired users and those with other physical disabilities can now easily book, rebook or check in for their flights online. The blind and visually impaired, for instance, can use screen reader software to have text read aloud to them, and can navigate the site more easily via their keyboard entries.

The fully accessible part of the swiss.com website already meets the AA standard of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. And the entire site should meet this standard by the end of 2016.

The revised swiss.com website further expands SWISS’s range of services for customers with restricted mobility. On the ground, specially trained staff continue to be available to provide these travellers with the additional care they need. SWISS offers escorts for both departing and arriving travellers, along with the free use at the airport of wheelchairs and transport vehicles.

Travellers with restricted mobility are also invited to board and deplane before other passengers; and up to two wheelchairs and an assistance dog will be transported free of charge. SWISS also provides a wheelchair on board on all its long-haul flights and (on request) for its short-haul services, too. And SWISS cabin personnel are sensitized to the special needs of travellers with restricted mobility, to ensure that they are offered optimum care and assistance throughout their time aboard.

For further details of SWISS’s special services for travellers with restricted mobility please visit.

 

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Indoor Service Animal/Pet Relief Room Opens at O'Hare International Airport


CHICAGO, October 20, 2015 - The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announces the opening of an indoor service animal/pet relief room at O'Hare International Airport.

Located past security checkpoints in the Rotunda area of Terminal 3, the room is specially designed to accommodate passengers traveling with service animals or pets. It is particularly convenient for those with layovers/connecting flights at O'Hare. It will enhance the traveling experience for individuals with disabilities because they no longer need to pass back through security to relieve their service animal.

The recently-opened indoor service animal/pet relief room at O'Hare is located just north of the Rotunda in Terminal 3.

The room has two, 2-foot by 4-foot pet relief areas complete with artificial grass covering, miniature fire hydrants and pop-up sprinkler systems to wash away liquid waste into a drain. In addition, a mounted hose bib and reel is available for manual spraying and plastic bags are provided for clean-up. The room is enclosed, has a door with a glass pane that opens and closes automatically, and is designed for wheelchair access. The room also includes two sinks for passenger use.

"We are pleased to offer this new amenity for passengers, especially those who depend on the assistance of service animals when they travel through our airport," said CDA Commissioner Ginger S. Evans. "This is another way we are making O'Hare International Airport more accessible to the traveling public and creating a more welcoming environment for visitors to Chicago."

The room features two pet relief areas with hydrants, and plastic bags, sinks and a hose for clean up.

The CDA coordinated with the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to ensure the room is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

The room features two pet relief areas with hydrants, and plastic bags, sinks and a hose for clean up.

"The new indoor animal relief area located in the secured terminal of O'Hare International Airport will enhance the traveling experience for individuals with service animals, particularly those with connecting flights," said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley. "This feature is another step towards our goal of making Chicago a world class accessible city for people with disabilities."

In addition to the new airside animal relief room, there are three outdoor service animal/ pet relief areas located near the lower level curb front of Terminals 1, 2 and 5. The Terminal 1 and 5 outdoor locations were opened in 2009 and the Terminal 2 location was added in 2014. Midway International Airport also has an outdoor service animal and pet relief area located near the lower level curb front at the north end of the terminal that opened in 2009.

Real grass, gravel or wood chips are used inside the fenced-in areas and plastic bags and garbage cans are provided. CDA and custodial staff monitor the areas throughout the day to ensure cleanliness.

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