Heathrow Becomes the First Airport Outside the U.S. to Join the Aira Access Network

December 3rd, 2018

View outside of an airplane window, looking out over the right wing of the plane.

View outside of an airplane window, looking out over the right wing of the plane.

Starting Monday, December 3, passengers who are blind or low vision traveling through Heathrow Airport will have access to on-demand, personalized assistance from Aira.

The app, which is available free of charge, will connect passengers directly to a trained professional agent who can assist passengers at Heathrow with navigating security and customs, locate airport facilities, retail outlets, and restaurants. It will also provide real-time information on flight status and gate changes. Any iOS or Android device can access the service by just downloading the mobile application, completing a brief registration, and placing a call to an agent.

Heathrow is the third-busiest airport in the world, serving 78 million people per year. The airport is implementing Aira to provide better service for the growing number of travelers who are blind or have low vision. Last year, the airport launched the use of the SignLive app which connects passengers to trained British Sign Language translators on demand, before and after their travel through Heathrow.

The launch of the Aira app at Heathrow coincides with International Day of Persons with Disabilities. First launched by the United Nations in 1992, the day is now a globally-recognized date that aims to celebrate and empower the one billion people in the world who have some form of hidden or visible disability.

“We are transforming the assistance service we provide to our passengers and empowering them to be as independent as possible when they are traveling through Heathrow,” said Jonathan Coen, Director of Customer Relations and Service at Heathrow. “We have already invested £23 million in an upgraded contract with our special assistance partner, OmniServ, and introducing new equipment, training, and technology to help improve our service. Aira takes us one step further – and will deliver a better travel experience for the 6,000 passengers that would otherwise feel less independent and less prepared when they begin their journey via Heathrow.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Aira available for travelers to Heathrow Airport,” said Suman Kanuganti, Founder and CEO of Aira. “Heathrow serves more travelers than almost any airport in the world, and we’re excited that those travelers will now be able to access Aira on their journeys.”

About Heathrow

Heathrow is Europe’s largest airport and one of the world’s top international aviation hubs. As the UK’s global gateway, Heathrow welcomes more than 78 million passengers every year. The airport is home to more than 80 airlines and is Britain’s most valuable cargo port, helping to drive British trade growth by connecting the nation to more than 200 destinations around the world. Heathrow is currently ranked by passengers as the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ for the third year running and the ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ for eight years in a row. Terminal 2 also holds the title of the ‘World’s Best Airport Terminal’ and is one of the first in the world to be powered by 100% renewable gas and electricity.

About Aira

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence; RA stands for Remote Access. When you put them together you get Aira. Aira is a service that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to connect people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to information, enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence.

Visit aira.io or call 800-835-1934 to learn more.

About Heathrow Special Assistance

Passengers that have disabilities or mobility difficulties requiring special assistance should contact their airlines or Heathrow Special Assistance at  special_assistance@heathrow.com