Newcastle International Airport unveils hidden disabilities initiative

With the summer now well underway, the international gateway for the North East, Newcastle Airport, has unveiled its latest initiative to ensure it operates as a welcoming and accessible airport.

A hidden disabilities lanyard is now available to collect at the airport to wear by those passengers who many need a little more time or assistance whilst travelling through the terminal. The lanyard discretely raises awareness amongst all airport staff of those who need that extra assistance, ensuring they feel reassured and allows staff to respond accordingly, whether this is at check-in, at security, in the departure lounge or at the gate.

Hidden disabilities are physical, mental or neurological conditions that sometimes or always limit a person’s movement, senses or daily activities and are invisible to an onlooker. These can present anything from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person. Around 11% of the UK population have hidden disabilities.

The hidden disabilities lanyard, initially developed by London Gatwick airport and which is also being rolled out at other airports across the UK, is free of charge and available on request from the Special Assistance desk in the terminal.

Tara Hurst, Ambassador Supervisor at Newcastle International Airport, said: “According to CAA research, 7% of all British people are potentially avoiding air travel because of a hidden disability, which is very concerning for us. At Newcastle Airport, we recognise the importance holidays, travelling to visit family and friends, and travelling for business can have on wellbeing and so we hope that the introduction of the hidden disabilities lanyard will encourage more people to fly in the future.

“The hidden disabilities lanyard will ensure our staff are able to offer help and assistance to all those that need it, reassuring passengers and creating a positive experience that we hope will encourage return customers.”

Newcastle International Airport has worked, and continues to work, closely with various charities to shape its accessibility strategy, including North East Autism Society, Northumberland County Blind Association, Mind, Chron’s & Colitis UK, Alzheimer’s Society, NET Patient Foundation, Type 1 Kidz, Mencap, Guide Dogs, Henshaws, and Deaflink.