Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport has been honoured in the latest Airports Council International (ACI Europe) awards.
The international gateway to the Costa Blanca was named “Best Accessible Airport” during the annual ACI awards presentation ceremony, held this year in Barcelona. The award recognised the airport’s work and commitment towards making its amenities and installations more accessible for people with disabilities and travellers with reduced mobility.
Earlier this year, the ACI also named Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport as “Best Airport in Europe” in the category for annual traffic ranging from 15 to 25 million passengers. The airport previously received the same ACI award in 2018 and 2019, and the past two years it was recognised for having the “Best Hygiene Measures” against COVID-19.
In assessing the latest awards, the judges concluded that Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport had made a permanent effort, beyond minimum accessibility requirements established by EU Regulation 1107/2006, to provide an accessible infrastructure for all.
They highlighted such key measures as:
- The creation of specific lanes for passengers with reduced mobility at different security checkpoints.
- The implementation of a loading area for electric wheelchairs.
- The development of mobile applications to facilitate navigation by visually impaired passengers within the airport premises.
- The development of specific procedures to assist passengers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Regarding the latter, they referred to a sensory room project (currently under construction) which aims to provide a safe and suitable environment for the needs of travellers with “invisible disabilities”. Located in an area near the boarding gates, next to the VIP lounge, the room will extend over 100 square metres and be equipped with specific equipment featuring tactile, luminous and audiovisual elements designed to minimise stress and provide a gradual adaptation to the airport environment.
In the meantime, Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport is already part of a special badge initiative by Aena (the national operator) at major Spanish airports to improve services for passengers with invisible disabilities. The badge allows airport staff to identify people who might require specific support or help, or simply to understand that they need a little more time for certain airport processes.
Passengers wearing the badge (available on the Aena website) are able to access the security checkpoint dedicated to families and people with reduced mobility (PRM).
The ACI was established in 1991 to promote collaborations between airports and other aviation partners, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), with the objective of contributing to the development of a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly air transport system. The council currently has 712 members operating 2,000 airports in 171 countries.