International airport that provides a diverse accessible airport experience.
- IGA Cares
- Istanbul Airport
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“IGA Cares solutions at Istanbul Airport have made me feel safe even without getting any assistance service.” Engin Yılmaz, Boğaziçi University, Technology Center for the Visually Impaired
In 2019 Istanbul Airport (IGA) – the international airport of Istanbul, Turkey – launched IGA Cares, an accessibility programme that offers a range of measures and services for people with physical, sensory, developmental, and cognitive disabilities, including Loud Steps, a mobile navigation app, and info kiosks in sign language. It also trains staff on inclusion and accessibility. Between 2019 and 2021, IGA estimates that approximately 1.5 million passengers with disabilities have benefitted.
Travelling can be difficult for persons with disabilities since airport facilities and services are often not accessible.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
IGA Cares aims to go beyond basic accessibility requirements and to create an airport experience that is both accessible and enjoyable at the same time. It has developed a bundle of services, such as Special Passenger Service Points, which are resting spots that are used, for example, by passengers to charge their wheelchairs or remove their prosthetics. Through the Very Special Guest Card service, passengers with disabilities who are sensitive to noise and crowds have access to quiet rooms where they can wait for their flight. The Accessible Route, a single-lane tactile pavement that works with the Loud Steps app and guides passengers to their chosen location, is available to those with visual disabilities. IGA Cares has also introduced the Sunflower Lanyard campaign for passengers with non-visible disabilities, which makes IGA staff – who are also trained on accessibility – aware that they may need more support. When IGA Cares started in 2019, it was focused on meeting structural accessibility standards. By 2021, however, the programme was creating new products and services after consultations with a variety of DPOs and evaluating user feedback.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
IGA Cares and its associated accessibility measures and services are funded entirely by Istanbul Airport. In 2020, the budget for accessibility was approximately EUR 290,000. IGA aims to launch more services catering to passengers with sensory, cognitive, and neurodevelopmental impairments. Moreover, it aims to promote accessible and independent travel globally by using IGA Cares as an example.