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Airport Accessibility Tour lands at YLW with Canucks Autism Network

Kelowna, BC – On Sunday, January 26th, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will host their third annual YLW Accessibility Tour for individuals with autism and their families. Held from 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the YLW WestJet check-in area, over 70 individuals are expected at the event.

Due to anxiety or sensory sensitivities, air travel can present significant challenges for individuals with autism. The tour will take families through the entire pre-flight process, including check-in, security, finding their gate and boarding a plane.

Families will also receive Resource Kits with tools to better prepare for air travel, including an activity storybook, step-by-step checklist, tips for travel and airport map. The kits are available for departing travelers at any time at the YLW Information Kiosk.

YLW’s partnership with CAN also aims to educate airport staff and volunteers on how to accommodate individuals with autism and better anticipate challenging situations.

“We are thrilled to work with YLW once again to increase autism accessibility at the airport,” said Britt Andersen, Canucks Autism Network’s Chief Executive Officer. “Because of this tour, individuals with autism and their families can more confidently navigate the airport, opening up a world of travel opportunities.”

Originally developed with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2014, CAN successfully expanded the program to YLW in 2017. In addition to being hosted by CAN and YLW, the YLW Accessibility Tour is offered in collaboration with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), WestJet and Autism Okanagan.

“For many families and individuals living with autism, travel can be very difficult,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, Kelowna International Airport. “The YLW Accessibility Tour is about giving families the freedom to fly by experiencing the travel process at the airport firsthand.”

For more information about YLW’s autism accessibility resources, please visit ylw.kelowna.ca/autism.

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Media wishing to attend must RSVP with name and media outlet by Friday, January 24, at 1 p.m. to Stephanie Trenholm at [email protected]

When: Sunday, January 26, 2020

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Media registration

10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Families check-in

11:30 – 11:50 a.m. Families board plane *no media availability

12:20 – 12:45 p.m. Families return to check-in area

Note: Due to security restrictions, media will not be allowed to pass through security.

Where: Register at WestJet check-in area (see media registration table)

Who: Canucks Autism Network participating families
Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, YLW
Samantha Hanley, Onsite Coordinator, Canucks Autism Network

Parking: Media can park in the short-term lot and bring in their vouchers to be validated.

About Canucks Autism Network (CAN)
Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides programs to individuals with autism and their families, while promoting acceptance and inclusion through community engagement and training initiatives across BC and beyond.

For media interviews with CAN, please contact:
Hallie Mitchell
Manager of Training & Community Engagement
604-685-4049 ext 219
[email protected]

About Kelowna International Airport (YLW)
As the 10th busiest airport in Canada, YLW’s total economic impact is 4,545 jobs and $789 million in total economic output to the province of British Columbia. Serving over 2 million passengers in 2019, YLW offers more than 70 daily non-stop commercial flights with nine airline partners. For more information, visit ylw.kelowna.ca.

For media interviews with YLW, please contact:
Stephanie Trenholm
Communications Advisor
[email protected]