England’s Gatwick Airport has unveiled an optional lanyard for disabled passengers who require additional support when travelling through the airport.
Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "We recognise that travelling through a busy airport can be a challenge for passengers with hidden disabilities and we want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to welcome and assist all our passengers.
"An important part of this commitment is ensuring greater awareness and understanding of hidden disabilities across the airport community, alongside improvements to the physical environment and the training of our staff so that they are well-equipped to recognise and respond to the needs of passengers."
Launched at the airport as part of Dementia Awareness Week, the lanyard is being supported by major charities across England, including The National Autistic Society, Alzheimer’s Society, and Action on Hearing Loss.
The airport authority has been collaborating with charities across the UK to increase awareness of the challenges faced by passengers with hidden disabilities.
It has also worked closely with OCS, which provides passenger assistance services at Gatwick Airport.
The airport is training staff and recruiting ‘workplace champions’ to provide improved assistance to disabled passengers.
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: "People with dementia and their family carers have a right to travel but often need help to be on hand.
"The initiative of OCS working with Gatwick Airport is one we applaud and look forward to other airports seeing what they can do."
After it is successfully deployed at the airport, the lanyard service will be adopted across transport and other sectors nationwide.