Hamad Airport expands services for passengers with special needs

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has entered into a partnership with ‘Shafallah Center’, one of Qatar Foundation for Social Work’s (QFSW) affiliated centers, to provide additional services to passengers with special needs, with a focus on passengers with autism.

Both parties formalized their partnership on Monday, 11th June 2018, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA and Ms. Amal Abdullatif Al Mannai, Chief Executive officer of Qatar Foundation Social Work & Acting Chief Executive Officer at Shafallah Center.

As part of the MoU, HIA will soon add a special handling lounge in the terminal for passengers with special needs, including autistic passengers.

Shafallah Center will be overseeing the setup of the lounge to ensure the comfort and convenience of said passengers.

The lounge will feature certain aspects of a sensory room, which is a specially designed space used for the therapy for children with limited communication skills, including electronic carpets, which allow children to play games and activities.

Shafallah Center will also provide specialized training for ground handling staff at HIA on how to provide special care and assistance to passengers with special needs including those with autism.

Ms. Amal Abdullatif Al Mannai, Chief Executive officer of Qatar Foundation Social Work and Acting Chief Executive Officer at Shafallah Center said:  “The signing of this important MOU marks HIA & Shafalah Center’s keenness on providing the best services and experience to the community we serve.

With joint effort and working with the best international practices, we are providing HIA passengers with a very unique and dedicated lounge to persons with intellectual disabilities and autism”.

Ms. Amal Al Mannai thanked the Chief Operating Officer at HIA and all employees for their continuous efforts to serve our children with intellectual disabilities and autism and to participate in the sustainable development of Qatari society.

In light of her support for attaining human and social development in Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser had established Al Shafallah Center for Persons with Disabilities in 1999 to provide exemplary educational and rehabilitative services to persons with mental disability and autism who are under 21 years old.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport said: “At HIA, we are continuously looking for ways to improve the travel experience for our passengers with special needs.

It is a priority for us that all our customers have the same level of satisfaction when it comes to experiencing HIA’s services and facilities.

We are grateful and happy to have the expertise of the specialists at Shafallah to guide us through our process of making HIA a special needs friendly airport.”

HIA offers barrier free access and dedicated facilities to make travelling more comfortable for passengers who require special assistance.

HIA’s network of elevators, escalators, ramps, walkways and passenger train offer simple access to Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM). Airport ground staff is trained on the basics of handling and assisting customers with special needs.

The airport terminal is equipped with various conveyance equipment to assist with either vertical or horizontal circulation.

All conveyance equipment for the purpose of assisting passengers with reduced mobility have smooth and level thresholds with controls, where required, mounted within easy reach.

Special handling lounges are available in the terminal for the comfort of passengers who require special assistance. All special handling lounges offer comfortable seating and trained attendants.