YYC Navigators Program Takes Flight at Calgary International Airport

September 26, 2015   |  

For Immediate Release
September 26, 2015

Program aims to improve familiarity with air travel for those with autism

(Calgary, AB) – Calgary International Airport’s YYC Navigators program officially took flight today, helping individuals with autism, and their families, become familiarized with airport processes and the air travel experience. Working with Society for Treatment of Autism (STA), the pilot program included more than 40 family members in all.

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a tendency to dislike new or unfamiliar situations, may have abnormal responses to sensory stimulation, or have other communication/language insufficiencies. As airport processes are unfamiliar for many, and some families are unsure if they can travel due to sensory and communication challenges, many choose to not travel by air.  By giving families affected by ASD the opportunity to become more familiar with airport processes, flying can be a more pleasant and viable option.

“Today’s launch of the YYC Navigators program would not be possible without our many airport partners,” said Garth Atkinson, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. “We all work together to ensure that YYC’s air travel experience is first-rate for everyone, and today’s event showcased that collaboration and commitment from all involved.”

Families participating in today’s event went through the entire airport process from curb to gate. Upon arriving, families checked in with their airline, Air Canada, went through the pre-board security process, boarded the Air Canada rouge aircraft and went through all flight safety announcements while remaining at the gate, and finalized their simulated trip with a visit through Canada Border Services Agency.

“Society for Treatment of Autism provides evidence-based, individualized programming and services to individuals with ASD and their families across the life span,” said Dr. Kimberley Ward, Director of Treatment Service for Society for Treatment of Autism. “Although vacations are something most families look forward to, STA is well aware that travel can be stressful when a family member has ASD.  For this reason, STA was excited to partner with The Calgary Airport Authority to make today’s event a reality.”

The Calgary Airport Authority’s many partners involved in today’s event included Society for Treatment of Autism, Air Canada, Air Canada rouge, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), HMSHost and Mountain View Printing.


The Calgary Airport Authority is a not-for-profit organization incorporated under the Regional Airports Authorities Act of Alberta. The Calgary Airport Authority is responsible for the management, operation and development of Calgary International (YYC) and Springbank (YBW) Airports. YYC is an important economic engine for the city, region and province, generating over $8 billion per annum in economic activity.

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Media Relations
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