Visually impaired customers at Wellington Airport can use virtual assistant

Posted: 14 January 2019 | | No comments yet

The Aira app helps the visually impaired by connecting them to a trained professional to help with day-to-day activities.


Visually impaired passengers at Wellington Airport now have access to a free virtual assistant when travelling through the airport. The Aira app has also been implemented at international airports such as London Heathrow and Los Angeles. 

The virtual assistant offers advice on navigating through the airport and assists 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 the U.S. 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 and supermarkets. To access the service, passengers can download the Aira app on their smartphone or access through Horizon smart glasses. Through the use of the glasses, the wearer can receive real time updates from an assistant, with whom the glasses are connected. 

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