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Tribune News Network
HAMAD International Airport (HIA) has opened the ‘Shafallah Center Lounge’, a special handling lounge, in partnership with the Shafallah Center, one of Qatar Foundation for Social Work’s (QFSW) affiliated centres.
The inauguration was attended by Amal Abdullatif al Mannai, chief executive officer of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, and Laalei Abu Alfain, acting executive director of Shafallah Center, as well as Saeed Yousef al Sulaiti, vice-president (Security) at HIA, and Abdulaziz al Mass, vice-president (Marketing and Corporate Communications) at HIA.
The lounge, located on concourse C, will cater to departing and transferring passengers with special needs, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The initiative is part of the MoU between HIA and Shafallah Center to provide additional services to passengers with special needs and ensure their comfort while travelling.
The initiative also focuses on passengers within the autism spectrum who face unique challenges while travelling and navigating through an airport environment. The special handling lounge is equipped with assistive technology, an innovative technology that provides calming and relaxing sensations for those with ASD. The lounge features educational, rehabilitative and recreational interactive devices and equipment that aim to promote, integrate and empower people with special needs in the community while providing them with assistive technologies and solutions that give them a stress-free experience when travelling through HIA.
The deployment of the sensory room aids in the development of sensory skills by integrating audio-visual and sensory effects such as sound, image and touch to help people with special needs meet their needs for communication and self-adjustment.
Eng Badr Mohammed al Meer, chief operating officer at HIA, stated: “Our goal is to provide all our passengers with the same level of satisfaction when it comes to experiencing HIA’s services and facilities.”
The airport staff will be available for on-ground support and those who want to access this facility can approach the airport staff for the same.
HIA offers entirely barrier-free access and dedicated facilities to make travelling more comfortable for passengers with special needs and reduced mobility. The terminal is equipped with various conveyance equipment to assist in vertical or horizontal circulation of passengers with reduced mobility (PRM). It also features reserved parking spaces and companion toilets for those that require assistance, reserved seating and is fully equipped with specialist equipment like medi-lifts, PRM ready buggies, aisle chairs and PRM lifting slings.
Acting Executive Director of the Shafallah Center Laalei Abu Alfain said: “The centre takes pride in this joint achievement as it oversaw the process of equipping the lounge with the latest technology, ensuring that passengers with disabilities will have seamless and comfortable travel experience. The lounge will provide passengers with special needs with several features including a sensory room for the children with autism spectrum disorder and electronic carpets to provide children with many games and activities to help them spend their time at the airport in a useful way.”
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