Joint statement from Graeme Innes and Adelaide Airport

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre represented Graeme Innes in a complaint against Adelaide Airport and others at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Graeme is blind and uses an assistance dog and feels that he was not treated fairly while passing through security screening at Adelaide Airport in May 2022. The complaint has resolved, and Graeme and the Airport have agreed on the below public statement. 

Public Statement from Graeme Innes and Adelaide Airport

Mr Graeme Innes is blind and uses an assistance dog. Mr Innes regularly travels by air for work and has difficult experiences when he encounters systems that do not accommodate his disability needs.

On 13 May 2022, Mr Innes felt he was not treated fairly while passing through security screening at Adelaide Airport with his assistance dog. This experience made Mr Innes feel stressed, and was upsetting to him. He made a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission against Adelaide Airport, Sydney Night Patrol (the security contractor), and the Department of Home Affairs (the body that regulates security screening processes at airports).

Adelaide Airport is committed to making flying in and out of Adelaide a world-class experience for all passengers. Adelaide Airport and Mr Innes have discussed his experience, and the airport has presented a proactive and constructive response to the complaint and committed to improving its process for passengers with disability.

Adelaide Airport’s security screening queue-management processes have been enhanced to provide greater choice and flexibility to customers with disability. This includes ensuring people with assistance animals can be screened at any lane rather than a dedicated lane.

Mr Innes’ complaint in relation to Adelaide Airport is now resolved.

Quotes from Adelaide Airport

– We take disability access at our terminal very seriously and our people are committed to making our customers’ journeys as seamless as possible for all, particularly people living with a disability. There are always opportunities for growth and improvement, particularly when it comes to compliance friction points in our customers’ journeys like airport security. The dialogue we have had with Mr Innes have helped us to refine our processes and further enhance our customer experience.

– All customer-facing staff and contractors receive disability awareness training, and we will now ensure training will be delivered by organisations run by people with disability.

– We’ve sought feedback on our Disability Access Facilitation Plan from people living with disability to capture lived insights into how our plan can be improved. We will also provide more information about disability access procedures to customers before they fly, so travellers with disability know what to expect and have a smoother experience.

Quotes from Graeme:

– People with disability know how challenging air travel can be, and that the experience needs to be more inclusive. I’m glad Adelaide Airport has listened to my concerns, and pleased we have agreed on common-sense solutions.

– When people with disability are ignored, it leads to disrespectful and insensitive treatment. By prioritising disability awareness training delivered by organisations controlled by people with disability, Adelaide Airport is helping its staff understand the issues that really matter to us.

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