FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2016
(Calgary, AB) – Following a very successful inaugural event in 2015, Calgary International Airport’s YYC Navigators program officially took flight again today. The program focuses on providing individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and their families, the opportunity to become more familiar with airport processes and the air travel experience. Working with Air Canada, the Society for Treatment for Autism (STA) and numerous other autism support organizations, this year’s program included 78 family members.
“YYC Navigators has been extremely well received by participating families, which is why we are pleased to continue to offer this program as part of our ongoing community initiatives at YYC. Through participation in this familiarization program, flying becomes a more viable option for these families,” said Garth Atkinson, President & CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. “It’s important to us and our many partners that that air travel is enjoyable and accessible to all.”
Individuals with autism 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 and programs such as this, make the air travel experience more attainable. The pilot launch of YYC Navigators, held in 2015, was a soaring success and the program has now been expanded to include more families affected by autism.
“Many members of our Calgary team were involved during last year’s pilot YYC Navigators Program and we’re thrilled to participate again this year to introduce these children and their families to our airline, to our customer service teams, pilots and flight attendants right here in Calgary. ASD has touched many of our friends and families. Air Canada’s community support programs focus on the well-being of children, and we are pleased to help these children learn more about air travel,” said Mark Dantu, Air Canada’s Manager, Station Operations for Calgary.
Families participating in this year’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 aircraft and went through all flight safety announcements. They finished their trip with a visit from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) representatives, who stamped their mock passports.
Participating agencies include Society for Treatment of Autism, Ability 4 Good, Lead Foundation and New Heights School & Learning Services.
A special thanks to our event sponsors and partners: Air Canada, HMSHost, CBSA, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and Mountain View Printing.
ABOUT THE CALGARY AIRPORT AUTHORITY
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.
For more information contact:
Calgary Airport Authority
P: 403 735 5899