Dubai Airports introduce new scheme for seamless travel of people of determinaiton

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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Dubai Airports introduce new scheme for seamless travel of people of determinaiton

Recently, Dubai Airports have released a thorough and exhaustive plan to ensure a seamless travel experience for People of Determination (“PoD”) who are using the Dubai International Airport (“DXB”). This new programme will be rolled out in two phases over two years and unite service partners across the DXB community to elevate the travel experience for passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism, chronic fatigue, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (” PTSD”).

In 2006, the UAE, after signing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, passed Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 concerning the Rights of the Handicapped. This law aims to guarantee the rights of people with special needs and to provide all the services based on the limits of their abilities and capacities. Based on this law, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum termed people with “special needs” as “People of Determination” in 2016.

To integrate accessible and recognizable options for travelers who are PoD, Dubai Airports have decided to include the use of sunflower lanyards—pins that should be worn by PoD to allow for increased visibility, communication, and support throughout their airport journey. Furthermore, a travel planner will be introduced for pre-travel preparation, along with an Autism Friendly Route, with a prioritized route through check-in, passport control, security checkpoint, and boarding (which can be availed by wearing the sunflower lanyard).

Taking this rollout to the next level is Dubai’s new campaign ‘We All Meet the World Differently’, which contributes to the UAE’s Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021. This agenda ensures that Dubai becomes the world’s leading disability-friendly city and barrier-free community that welcomes and empowers all PoD travelers.

The Airport currently does provide support services for physical disabilities, but with this new rollout, the sunflower lanyard is meant to represent the needs and requirements of travelers with hidden disabilities, which will not only increase their visibility in the general population but also increase their likelihood in availing any assistance which might be required during the time of their journey.

Furthermore, the airports have also implemented an educational campaign to increase awareness about hidden disabilities, and even more comprehensively around autism—what are acceptable behaviors, and types of language—to increase social acceptance and empathy among all travelers. To ensure the campaign is well funded, key training materials have also been distributed amongst all airport organizations in Dubai.

The second phase of the roll-out will witness additional innovative solutions, including connected airports, quiet rooms, and an airport safari tour. Based on an interview with the COO of Dubai Airports, it can be surmised that the airport staff are working their best to cater to the needs of all the travelers equally, and with the same efficiency and attention—particularly because PoD are an integral part of the Airports’ customer base. The Airport is also working towards increasing awareness towards the needs and requirements of the PoD, specifically those with autism, by collaborating with the Dubai Autism Centre and providing support services that are helpful to travelers with hidden disabilities.

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