October 15, 2023
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority partnered with Air Transat and Autism Ontario to host its first annual “Ready, Set, Fly…with YYZ” experience, a unique, immersive, and welcoming airport travel familiarization tour for families with neurodivergent needs.
Amidst lots of laughter and smiles, about 100 people were welcomed at Toronto Pearson on Sunday for a chance to simulate all aspects of travelling, including check-in, security screening, boarding a real airplane, customs and interacting with airport staff. The important event strives to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodivergent needs reduce their anxiety about flying by giving them real-life experience navigating Canada’s busiest airport.
“At Toronto Pearson, we want to create opportunities where everyone can access the joys and security of air travel in the ways that work for them. Our team is working hard to provide everyone with a seamless, consistent, and inclusive experience,” said Khalil Lamrabet, Chief Commercial Officer, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “The realization of 'Ready, Set, Fly...with YYZ' stands as a testament to the remarkable power of collaboration and our unwavering commitment to inclusivity, driven by the insights and experiences of the families we serve."“As a mother to a child with autism, I know firsthand how challenging travelling can be for people with ASD. This type of event not only helps to prepare families like mine and provide them with the confidence to travel, but it also serves as an important educational experience for staff,” said Chrystal Healy, VP Corporate Responsibility, Air Transat. “I know there is so much more we can do to improve our accessibility journey, but I am inspired every day by the commitment of our team to provide the best experience for all our customers. We will honour this commitment to accessibility by continuing to consult our stakeholders and passengers and by training our staff. We are very pleased to collaborate with GTAA and Autism Ontario to help offer this concrete initiative, ‘Ready Set Fly,’ to the Toronto community.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Toronto Pearson and Air Transat on this exciting initiative. When the travel industry listens to and responds to the travelling needs of autistic and neurodiverse and their caregivers, it’s not only the right thing to do in a truly inclusive society, but it’s good for business and long-term customer loyalty. That’s a win-win situation for everyone,” said Marg Spoelstra, Chief Operating Officer, Autism Ontario.
“Ready, Set, Fly…With YYZ” will be held on an annual basis to continue expanding Toronto Pearson’s commitment to being a leader in accessibility.
To learn more about accessibility at Toronto Pearson, visit: torontopearson.com/accessibility
About the Greater Toronto Airports Authority
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is the operator of Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Canada’s largest airport and a vital connector of people, businesses and goods. Toronto Pearson is proud to provide a wide variety of accessible services for travellers with autism, including the Sunflower Lanyards program and the MagnusCards® app. In 2022, Toronto Pearson became the first airport in North America and second in the world to receive the Airports Council International (ACI) accreditation under the Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation (AEA) program, a first-of-its-kind program dedicated to airport accessibility. The program is designed to help airports measure, evaluate, and improve their accessibility management and culture. It is the only international assessment or accreditation program dedicated to airports' accessibility to passengers with disabilities. For our corporate twitter channel, please visit @PearsonComms. For operational updates and passenger information, please visit @TorontoPearson/@AeroportPearson. You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
About Air Transat
Founded in Montreal 35 years ago, Air Transat is a leading travel brand. Its program offers access to international destinations, mainly in Europe, the Caribbean and the East and West coasts of the U.S. Voted Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the 2023 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Transat is recognized for its excellent customer service. By renewing its fleet with the most energy-efficient aircraft in their category, Air Transat is committed to a more sustainable industry. Based in Montréal with major hubs in Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ), it has near 5,000 employees with a common purpose to bring people closer together. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc. (TSX: TRZ). www.airtransat.com
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