Shannon Airport has reiterated its call to other airports around Europe to establish sensory rooms after Gatwick Airport followed its lead on Monday by doing exactly that.
Shannon opened Europe’s first sensory room in March of last year for children and adults with neuro-developmental challenges including autism, and has since facilitated visits by airports around the world that are exploring Shannon’s lead. Among them was Gatwick Airport, which has now opened the UK’s first such room.
Welcoming Gatwick’s initiative, Matthew Thomas, Chief Executive, Shannon Group plc, which operates Shannon Airport, said: “We congratulate Gatwick Airport on this wonderful achievement. We know from opening our own airport sensory room in March 2017 that the Gatwick sensory room will be a tremendous assistance to passengers with autism and special needs.
“We already have well-established Ryanair services between Shannon and Gatwick airports, and the new Gatwick sensory room means that a trip between the two airports will be even more user-friendly. With the sensory rooms in operation at either end of the journey to and from the UK, we are making it easier for passengers who need these facilities. Having them can mean a huge difference for passengers with neuro-developmental challenges.”
Last year when the Shannon Airport sensory room was opened, Shannon urged other Irish and international airports to get onboard and provide similar facilities at airports around the world.
“We realised that it was one thing for Shannon to put these provisions in place but if other airports participated in this programme, then it would mean that when the passengers arrive on the other side they also get special treatment. That would be a huge gift to people with special needs and their families,” said Andrew Murphy, Managing Director, Shannon Airport. “The response this drew from the aviation community was astounding. Since establishing our sensory room we have received over 30 enquiries from airports, Government agencies and sporting venues around the world, including Gatwick Airport, looking for advice and guidelines on how best to establish an airport sensory room. We were delighted to assist Gatwick and we wish them every success. Our offer to assist other airports who might be thinking of following suit still stands.”