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Airport’s special assistance star Jim wins national award

A member of the special assistance team based at Glasgow Airport has won a national award for his endeavours.

Regional Skills Trainer Jim Lobban, who works for Glasgow Airport’s special assistance provider OCS, has played a key role in developing our popular hidden disability lanyard service.

Jim picked up the Fresh Thinking Award at the OCS 2019 Awards for is dedication and pioneering work supporting passengers who require additional support, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder.

Paul Scott, Glasgow Airport’s Terminal Assurance Manager, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Jim has been absolutely instrumental not only to developing our hidden lanyard system, but also in the continual improvement of the wider special assistance service we provide.

“He’s a very popular member of the team, and as the below video shows many of our special assistance passengers rely on him and are on first name terms with him.

“Jim and the entire OCS team work incredibly hard to ensure that those passengers who do require additional support continue to enjoy a safe, pleasant and memorable journey through the terminal.”

Glasgow Airport supported more than 121,000 passengers who required special assistance in 2018 – more than any other Scottish airport – and Jim and his colleagues in the OCS team are at the heart of this service.

Key to its continued success is the team’s ability to provide a flexible, tailored and often innovative special assistance service specific to an individual passenger’s needs. 

The hidden disability lanyard service is a hugely-effective example of Glasgow Airport’s collaborative approach. Passengers with autism and their families, or those with other hidden disabilities such as dementia, are encouraged to meet our team for a familiarisation tour in advance of their journey.

This can range from a coffee and chat to plan their journey through the terminal, to arranging a trial run of the process from check-in to boarding an (empty) aircraft.

Trial runs are of particular benefit for passengers with autism as they allow them to familiarise with the journey at a quieter time to better prepare for their trip.  The lanyards are used to discretely identify these passengers and are particularly helpful when someone is passing through security, which is often where PRM passengers need additional support.

More than 3,500 airport staff interact with passengers and all front line staff are trained to support lanyard users on their journey.  

Glasgow also became the first airport in the UK to introduce the Autism Reality Experience in 2017, which delivered interactive, hands-on training sessions for staff and passengers to better understand the challenges faced by people with autism. The event was very popular and saw the number of support requests increase by 300% and a similar Virtual Dementia Tour was brought in the following year. 

Glasgow Airport also received the top ‘very good’ rating from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in its Airport Accessibility Report 2018/19 and won the Excellence in Transport Accessibility Award at the Scottish Transport Awards this year. Earlier this week the airport also came top of an accessible study by flight comparison site Netflights.

To find out more about our special assistance service

Watch the full video here:

Watch Video - Special Assistance at Glasgow