Perth Airport opens accessible facility for customers with disabilities

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To promote access and inclusion for customers with disabilities, Perth Airport in Australia has constructed the Changing Places facility at Terminal 1 and introduced its Hidden Disabilities program.

These developments will ensure people can access convenient and appropriate public restroom facilities that meet their needs when away from home. The Changing Places facility is secure and has been created for people with disabilities who need space and assistance. It has been designed to reduce the stress caused by the busy and overwhelming airport environment.

As part of the Hidden Disabilities program, customers will be able to request a sunflower lanyard to wear in the airport, as a discreet way to indicate to airport staff that they may need extra help, guidance or time with airport processes. The Perth Airport staff have been trained to recognize the lanyard and provide the assistance and support customers need.

The upgrades come as a part of the airport’s A$36m (US$27m) international gate upgrade project, which replaced the old stair boarding process with new ramps and lifts at Gates 52 and 53. The new gates were intended to improve the boarding experience for passengers traveling with small children or reduced mobility. Furthermore, two new service animal relief areas have been installed in T1 and T4 to make it easier for passengers traveling with assistance animals.

Kate Holsgrove, chief commercial officer at Perth Airport, said, “The airport is committed to ensuring that its facilities, information and services are inclusive and accessible to everyone. We work closely with our access and inclusion advisory group to determine where we can improve access and inclusion within our existing infrastructure and how we can include new initiatives in future terminal designs. This is the motivation for many new projects launched by the airport that look to remove barriers to inclusion for our customers, team members, partners and the community we serve.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for our business, but I am pleased that we were still able to prioritize and push on with a number of projects that will improve the traveling experience for people with disability. We have recently completed the construction of a Changing Places facility at Terminal 1.”

Coralie Flatters, state manager of National Disability Services in Western Australia, said, “This will be transformative for people with disability, their families, carers and friends when making plans to travel. These facilities are vital in breaking down barriers and helping to ensure people can access convenient and appropriate public restroom facilities that meet their needs when away from home.”

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