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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Cork airport rolls out scheme for passengers with hidden disabilities

Deirdre O'Donovan, Cork Airport (centre) with Colm Lenihan from Aspect AS Support Services and Mary Maunsell from the Cork Association for Autism

Cork has become the first airport in the Republic of Ireland to roll out the sunflower lanyard scheme to help staff identify passengers with hidden disabilities who may need additional support.

The discreet identification scheme is used in several airports around the globe, including Heathrow, and provides those with hidden disabilities the opportunity to benefit from support throughout Cork airport.

Sunflower lanyards are available at the OCS Group’s special assistance desk in the Cork airport terminal and are easily recognisable to staff across multiple aviation hubs.

The scheme is the latest initiative in Cork airport’s goal to assist those with invisible disabilities. Last year, it became the first major travel hub in Ireland to adopt new signage for accessible toilets. It also named the Shine Centre for Autism as its 2018 Charity of the Year, which included a commitment from the airport to build on its existing autism initiatives such as the provision of books from the Suzie series by Charlotte Olson, intended to help children with autism cope with new situations. These books are also available at the OCS desk.

Commenting on the sunflower lanyard scheme, Cork airport’s operations manager Deirdre O’Donovan said: “We are entering our fourth consecutive year of growth, and with an increase in our passenger base comes an expansion of services to meet demands. I am delighted to be leading the launch of a hidden disability lanyard as part of Cork airport’s ongoing Hidden Disabilities Programme. We are always looking to improve the facilities on offer to our passengers and we hope that the introduction of the lanyard will make it a little easier for those of our passengers in need of a little more assistance on their airport journey.”

Barry Gregg, airport service manager at OCS Ireland, added: “OCS Ireland are very proud and honoured to have assisted Cork airport with the setup and implementation of this wonderful scheme. It is yet another example of Cork airport’s commitment to being a truly accessible airport for all travellers.”

corkairport.com

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