A new app being launched at Gatwick Airport will look to connect its blind & visually impaired passengers to a professionally trained agent who will guide them through the airport journey.
The service, which will be free to use, will be accessible 24 hours a day & uses the camera within passenger’s camera phones to help trained staff to provide professional aid and advice throughout the airport. Passengers will be able to hear flight information as well as locate bags on the luggage carousel.
The system is being trailed for six months at Gatwick in partnership with easyJet.
Lord David Blunkett, chair of easyJet’s Special Assistance Advisory Group, said: “This is a great experiment and innovation which I know over time will be life-changing in terms of providing equality to passengers with no or little sight. This extremely ground-breaking technological breakthrough will allow the partnership between easyJet and Gatwick to demonstrate, for future use across airports here and across the world, just how a simple app and addition to an iPhone or other similar technology can make such a difference.
“I know from my own experience that it will take a bit of technical expertise but also just how liberating this could be, both for those who just need a little extra help as well as for those passengers who want to complement the wider assistance available with an independent solution that they can use themselves.”
Chris Woodroofe, chief operating officer at Gatwick airport, added: “Airports are complex environments and this new system helps to give blind and visually impaired passengers more independence so they can more easily relax and enjoy their time at Gatwick.
“We have an ambition to be the UK’s most accessible airport and we are looking to do this by investing and innovating and by putting the needs of every passenger at the heart of our operation. Ultimately we want to make sure that everybody has an equal opportunity to fly.”
Speaking of inclusion of all passengers, our friends at Airport Parking Shop have written an in depth article on what some of the top UK airports are doing to make airport navigation easier for those with a sensory impairment; it certainly makes for very interesting reading!