Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has added a service to support customers who are blind or have low vision.
It is called Aira and provides guidance through a mobile app to assist passengers with a variety of needs, including moving through crowds, avoiding obstacles, finding gates, using self-service kiosks and navigating through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, according to the City of Phoenix.
To provide this assistance, the Aira mobile app connects users with professionally trained visual interpreters, who use live-streamed video to translate visual information into descriptive audio at the touch of a button, “providing better efficiency, engagement and independence,” a city release stated.
“The addition of Aira service started with a constituent request to my office, asking to see how we could improve accessibility at Phoenix Sky Harbor," said Councilmember Debra Stark, who chairs the city's transportation, infrastructure and planning subcommittee.
“I'm proud that the aviation team took this to heart and made it happen."
The Aira app is free to download and available in the Apple App and Google Play stores. While accessing the service for personal use can require a monthly subscription, Phoenix Sky Harbor will offer the service for free to users at the airport.
Phoenix Sky Harbor has partnered with the nonprofit Foundation for Blind Children to help promote the addition of Aira service at the airport.
“Our organization was founded to help people who are blind or visually impaired achieve greater independence, where vision loss is a diagnosis and not a disability" said Marc Ashton, Foundation for Blind Children chief executive officer.
“By making this commitment to, and investment in greater accessibility, Phoenix Sky Harbor is truly helping to advance that vision."
More information about the Airport's accessibility and assistance programs is available at https://www.skyharbor.com/beforetraveling/Accessibility .