Montreal-Trudeau Airport opens doors for kids with ASDs
April 14, 2014, Montreal - A group of children accompanied by their families experienced a very special day at Montreal-Trudeau airport today as part of the Premium Kids program, which organizes airport process familiarization days for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or functional limitations.
Nearly an hundred children, accompanied by family members, had an opportunity to become acquainted with a typical traveller's journey through an airport, starting with arrival at the terminal parking lot, right up until the aircraft boarding and passenger-safety announcement.
"Following the success of the pilot project and the positive comments we received, we decided to make this an annual program," said Christiane Beaulieu, Vice-President, Public Affairs and Communications, Aeroports de Montreal (ADM). "Today's activity is important for the families, but also for ADM. It enables us to better identify the needs and expectations of the families, and in this way we can improve our services to airport users."
For his part, Jean-Francois Lemay, General Manager of event partner Air Transat, said: "Preparing children for the experience of flying is essential for a successful family trip. This step is all the more important for parents of children with an ASD. That is why we are pleased to be the official partner airline of the Premium Kids program." Mr. Lemay added: "Our priority is to offer our passengers an exceptional, pleasant and safe experience, no matter their limitations. Air Transat provides an extensive range of information services to families travelling aboard its flights and Premium Kids is a natural extension of this."
This event is organized by ADM jointly with the following partners: Autisme et troubles envahissants du developpement Montreal (ATEDM), the Giant Steps organization, Special Olympics Quebec, Air Transat, Transport Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), Securitas, HMSHost, Sweet Factory, Runway Duty Free and the Montreal Airport Marriott Hotel.
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 Centre in collaboration with the Massachusetts Port Authority Logan International Airport, Boston).