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San Luis Obispo Airport unveils new visual impairment support app

SLO airport.jpg
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 12, 2023

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) has begun the use of Aira, a mobile app that is designed to support visually impaired customers at the airport.

Self-described as a “visual interpreting service,” Aira is intended to help customers more easily navigate the airport, addressing needs such as “moving through crowds, avoiding obstacles, finding gates, using self-service kiosks, and navigating through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint,” according to a press release.

Through a livestream, Aira connects users with professional visual interpreters who can verbally describe the user’s surroundings and potential obstacles.

Courtney Johnson, San Luis Obispo’s Director of Airports, described Aira as “a great service addition” and one which “offers a whole new level of assistance for passengers who are visually impaired and builds on the goal of being a welcoming and inclusive airport for all residents and visitors alike.”

Johnson added, “I’m proud that SBP is making intentional steps forward to support accessibility and transportation for all.”

Aira is free to download and is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores. While accessing the service for personal use can require a monthly subscription, SBP will offer the service for free to users while at the airport. Aira services will also extend to customers at ACI Jet, The Spirit of San Luis restaurant, and CAL FIRE Station 21.

Aira has already been instituted elsewhere, such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Colorado state-government services.