WHO Begins Recognizing Age-Friendly Airports

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the first “age-friendly” airports in the world with a pair in Ireland launching the initiative.

Ireland West Airport and Shannon Airport were recognized with a ceremony that included the World Health Organization, which established the Age-Friendly Cities movement. This has since grown to include communities of all sizes, as well as states and territories.

The airports reportedly conducted walk audits with older adults and reviewed seating, signage, footpaths, car parking, toilet and other facilities and access routes. Both airports scored well for their existing facilities, but also identified improvements needed, and subsequently rolled out a work plan to develop their amenities as age friendly.

According to news reports, new features installed in Shannon Airport as a result of this process included designated age friendly parking, better signage, age friendly seating, covered walkways from aircraft into the terminal, along with an existing Person of Reduced Mobility (PRM) Service with dedicated staff to assist older people transit from arrival at Shannon Airport to the aircraft. Shannon is home to Europe’s first airport sensory room for passengers of all ages with sensory and neurodevelopmental needs.