Malta airport earns ‘Autism Friendly Spaces’ quality label

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For its efforts in improving experiences for travellers with autism, Malta International Airport has been awarded an Autism Friendly Spaces distinction quality label, International Airport Review reported.

Autism-Europe (AE), one of the entities behind the programme, is an international organisation whose mission is to promote the rights of individuals on the spectrum and help improve the quality of their everyday lives. 

The Autistic Friendly Spaces (AFS) aims to create a more accessible society and increase social participation among children on the autistic spectrum. The initiative, which began in October 2019 and is set to be completed in May 2022, was funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ program.

Malta International Airport, sometimes referred to as the Luqa Airport or Valletta Airport, earned the flattering title after meeting several criteria, such as designating employee representatives to receive training and serve as special ambassadors for passengers with autism. 

Since the introduction of the Journey Facilitation Programme at Malta International Airport in 2018, trained airport staff have been providing continuous assistance to people on the spectrum.

Passengers with autism are given a special wristband that notifies staff members of their specific needs. They are accompanied by a staff member throughout the journey, and have access to a quiet room that provides a relaxing environment and a more pleasant travel experience.

Malta International Airport Customer Services Manager Thomas Abela stated: “The creation of our Journey Facilitation Programme was rooted in our belief that all our guests deserve to enjoy the best possible airport experience. The feedback received over the past three years has shown us what a huge difference this service has made to persons benefiting from it.”

“This feedback together with the accreditation received today encourages us to continue making our airport and air travel as accessible as possible to this passenger segment,” Abela further stated.

Autism-Europe is also committed to working with European decision-makers to promote a better policy response to this group’s needs and trying to raise awareness and understanding on this subject in society. (photo credit:  MIA/Rene Rossignaud)