Free virtual assistant for visually impaired passengers launches at Wellington Airport

11 Jan 2019

From today visually impaired passengers at Wellington Airport will have access to a free virtual assistant when travelling through the airport.

The virtual assistant will offer advice on navigating through the airport and assist with finding specific locations like gates, retail outlets and airport facilities like check-in counters and toilets. The assistant can also provide live information on any updates that may affect a passenger’s journey.

Wellington Airport is the first airport in New Zealand to launch this service and the second outside the United States, and is providing it free of charge through US organisation Aira.

According to General Manager of Aeronautical Operations, Ayolt Wiertsema using the virtual assistant means passengers who are visually impaired don’t have to rely so heavily on others to assist them: “Feedback we’ve received says it provides a sense of freedom to do what all travellers like to do, grab a bite to eat or find what they need before a flight.”

The app has thousands of users worldwide and is enabled for universities, supermarket chains and other international airports like Heathrow and Los Angeles.

To access the service, passengers can download the Aira app on their smartphone or access through Horizon smart glasses.