Malta International Airport (MIA) is committed to further improving their Journey Facilitation Programme aiding travellers with autism, according to a press statement by the MIA. The airport also cast blue light over its terminal facade on 2 April to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
The Journey Facilitation Programme was launched last year to assist passengers with autism through their airport journey. In the framework of this programme, specially-trained personnel guide travellers on the spectrum, and provide access to quiet rooms to minimise noise and visual stimuli, says the press release.
“This past year, the Journey Facilitation Programme has been availed of more than 180 times, and the feedback received has served to highlight what a big difference this special service has made to users, encouraging us to explore new ways of turning a potentially stressful experience into a more pleasant one,” said Alex Cardona, Head of Customer Services and Traffic Development at MIA.
An online visual guide has also been made available by the airport offering simple instructions, photos and directions through the departure and arrival terminals. This guide also includes brief explanations of crucial moments in terms of sensory stimuli, such as checking in, security screening and border control.
A free storybook is presented to young travellers on the spectrum helping them with preparing for the flight. The booklet follows the adventure of two characters going through their first airport journey and is available for a limited period.
Airport staff also encourages passengers on the spectrum to bring noise-cancelling headphones and stress-relieving toys to make trips less demanding emotionally.