Malta International Airport was one of the first Maltese establishments to receive the ‘Autism Friendly Spaces’ quality label during an event organised by local NGO Prisms in collaboration with the Ministry for Inclusion, Social Wellbeing and Voluntary Organisations, the Commission of the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ.
The ‘Autism Friendly Spaces’ quality label was created within a wider programme, which is managed by Prisms, Autism Europe and a number of other entities, with an aim to support organisations in making places and everyday experiences more accessible to people with autism.
Malta International Airport became accredited after having satisfied several criteria, including the designation of employee representatives to undertake training and become the company’s autism ambassadors. Members from Prisms and the Autism Parents Association also visited the airport to assess how the company’s journey facilitation service is delivered and whether it provides for fast-track assistance and access to a quiet space, in line with autism-friendly recommendations for the air travel industry.
“We are delighted that our airport is one of Malta’s first accredited autism-friendly spaces, especially considering that it is the only air terminal serving the islands and that people travel for a number of reasons, ranging from necessity to leisure. We hope that Malta International Airport’s success story inspires more companies and organisations to follow suit in rethinking the spaces they manage and the experiences they provide,” said Prisms youth worker Margaret White.
“The creation of our Journey Facilitation Programme was rooted in our belief that all our guests deserve to enjoy the best possible airport experience. The feedback received over the past three years has shown us what a huge difference this service has made to persons benefitting from it. This feedback together with the accreditation received today encourage us to continue making our airport and air travel as accessible as possible to this passenger segment,” said MIA’s Customer Services Manager Thomas Abela.
Malta International Airport launched the Journey Facilitation Programme in 2018, with trained front-liners having delivered more than 500 services to persons on the spectrum since then. Through the journey facilitation service, which may be booked at this link, persons on the spectrum are given a distinctive wrist band which alerts staff members to their specific needs, are accompanied by a staff member throughout the journey, and given access to a quiet room providing a calming environment amid the airport hum.