Malta Airport Launches a Terminal Visual Guide as it Marks World Autism Awareness Month
To mark World Autism Awareness Day, Malta International Airport has lit up its terminal facade blue, complementing the symbolic gesture with an initiative targeted at facilitating the airport journey for passengers with autism and any accompanying travellers.
Last year, the airport launched the Journey Facilitation Programme, aimed at giving passengers with autism additional help while travelling through the airport. This tailor-made assistance includes guidance by a specially trained dedicated representative through MIA and access to quiet rooms to minimise noise and visual stimuli.
To further support this initiative, the airport has now made available online a visual guide which provides simple instructions, photos and directions designed to prepare travellers for their airport journey before taking a trip.
The step-by-step visual journey through the terminal, both on departure and on arrival, includes brief explanations of what to expect at crucial points and of processes such as checking in, security screening and border control.
“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 Head of Customer Services and Traffic Development Alex Cardona.
Malta International Airport’s journey facilitation service, which is delivered by the company’s team of specially trained front liners, may be booked by filling in a form and submitting the necessary documents here, at least 48 hours prior to one’s travels.
For a limited period, younger travellers who are on the spectrum will receive a free story book recounting the first adventure on a plane of two characters, when they present themselves at the Information Desk within the Check-in Hall.
While this book is aimed at helping kill the wait before boarding and preparing young travellers with autism for the actual flight, the airport team also recommends other items that can contribute to a smoother journey, including noise-cancelling headphones to reduce the airport hum and toys that can serve as a comforting reminder of home while travelling away from it.