Aéroports de Montréal partners to support children with PDDs
Nov. 22, 2013, Montreal - Aeroports de Montreal (ADM) is proud to announce the creation of the Enfants en Premiere/Premium Kids program, which will organize airport-process familiarization days for children with pervasive developmental disabilities (PDDs).
November 22, 2013 By Carey Fredericks
The first such activity as part of this program was a pilot project held this past October 20. More than 250 participants, including children with PDDs accompanied by family members, had an opportunity to become acquainted with a typical traveller's journey through an airport, starting with arrival at the airport parking lot, right up until the aircraft boarding and passenger safety announcement (there was no flight).
"Following the success of the pilot project and the positive comments we received, we decided to make this an annual program," said Christiane Beaulieu, ADM's Vice-President, Public Affairs and Communications.
For his part, Jean-Francois Lemay, General Manager of the event's partner Air Transat, said: "We know that flying can be a stressful experience for some people, and it is understandable that it may seem an almost insurmountable step for a child with a PDD. We are always very attentive to our passengers who are travelling as a family, as our very popular Kids Club attests. That's why Air Transat is extremely proud to partner with the Premium Kids program. In this way, we are able to provide the parents and children who take part in this activity with an opportunity to enjoy a unique and comforting experience that enables them not only to dream about taking a family trip, but to begin planning one!"
The October 20 event was organized by Aeroports de Montreal jointly with the following partners: Autisme et troubles envahissants du developpement Montreal (ATEDM), the Giant Steps organization, Air Transat, Transport Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), Securitas, HMSHost, Runway Duty Free and the Montreal Airport Marriott Hotel.
Representatives of ATEDM and Giant Steps stressed the importance of such activities for promoting the integration of these children and allowing them to share in rewarding experiences such as family travel. We are pleased to be associated with this initiative and plan to continue our engagement.
ADM is Canada's first airport authority to introduce such a program, which is inspired by a similar initiative, "Wings for Autism," created more than three years ago by the Charles River Center in collaboration with the Massachusetts Port Authority Logan International Airport, Boston).