Heathrow launches app to support visually impaired travellers

3 December 2018 (Last Updated December 3rd, 2018 11:46)

Heathrow Airport has introduced a new app called Aira to help almost 6,000 visually impaired travellers that use the facility every year. 

Heathrow launches app to support visually impaired travellers
Heathrow’s new app launch forms part of its £23m investment to improve the experience of passengers. Credit: LHR Airports Limited.

Heathrow Airport has introduced a new app called Aira to help almost 6,000 visually impaired travellers that use the facility every year.

Starting today, passengers can access up to date information and personalised assistance using the Aira app on their smartphone or tablet.

The app launch forms part of the airport’s £23m investment to improve the experience of all passenger needs.

Available as a free download, the app will connect travellers directly to a trained professional agent for advice on navigating through Heathrow and helps find places such as gates, special assistance facilities, retail outlets, and restaurants.

It will also offer live information on news affecting their journeys.

“Aira will deliver a better travel experience for the 6,000 passengers each year that would otherwise feel less independent and less prepared when they begin their journey.”

Data shows that the number of travellers seeking special assistance at the airport is increasing by around 8% per annum.

Heathrow customer relations and service director Jonathan Coen said: “We are transforming the assistance service we provide to our passengers and empowering them to be as independent as possible when they are travelling through Heathrow.

“We have already invested £23m in an upgraded contract with our special assistance partner, OmniServ, and introducing new equipment, training, and technology to help improve our service.

“Aira takes us one step further, and will deliver a better travel experience for the 6,000 passengers each year that would otherwise feel less independent and less prepared when they begin their journey via Heathrow.”

The new initiatives have been launched after collecting feedback from passengers and following guidance from the Heathrow Accessibility Advisory Group.

The group is chaired by disability rights advocate Roberto Castiglioni and helps Heathrow deliver its vision to become industry leading when it comes to accessibility and inclusion.