In recognition of its achievements in airport accessibility, Miami International Airport (MIA) in Florida has received the Civil Rights Advocate and Partner Award from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
MIA was recognized for its myMIAccess program, which provides a diverse menu of services for travelers with disabilities. Most recently, in May 2021, MIA became the first airport in the US to install wheelchair charging stations airport-wide. The charging stations offer people with electric mobility devices the opportunity to enjoy travel without the stress of low batteries. In November 2020, MIA opened its second multi-sensory room for passengers with cognitive and developmental disabilities to enjoy a calm environment while traveling. That same year, MIA became one of 10 US airports and 60 worldwide to provide sunflower lanyards free of charge to passengers with hidden disabilities. The lanyards are a discreet way to communicate to airport staff that those passengers may need more time or have additional questions while traveling.
MIA also hosts regular ADA Open Access Committee meetings, which provide an open forum for dialogue between airport users, airlines, service companies and airport leadership. The committee is led by a community member and disability advocate who acts as the chairperson in all meetings. The airport was given its award during the FAA’s 13th Annual National Civil Rights and Training Conference for Airports on July 28 – two days after the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being signed into law on July 26, 1990. The award honors ADA coordinators and airport sponsors who have demonstrated excellence in meeting the letter and the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Ralph Cutié, director and CEO of MIA, said, “We are deeply honored to receive this award from the FAA, in recognition of our efforts to engage with the local disability community and provide a smoother travel experience for all. We take great pride in responding to the diverse needs of our travelers and in making our services more accessible and inclusive.”
Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, said, “Congratulations to the entire MIA team for once again being recognized as an industry leader in passenger accessibility. I am committed to making air travel easy, safe and accessible for all our visitors, regardless of disability, as we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. My administration has prioritized accessibility across the government and county, including a fully funded and staffed ADA compliance office and the relaunching of an internship program for young people with disabilities. I’m extremely proud to see MIA bolster that commitment and be recognized with this prestigious honor from our federal government.”