Guide Dogs WA has supported the launch of the new Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs) at Perth Airport Terminals 1 and 4.
The ground-breaking facilities are the result of an 18-month project by Perth Airport, with access and services consultation from Guide Dogs WA and VisAbility.
Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs) are locations in airports where passengers with disabilities can allow their service animals to relieve themselves. They include ablution facilities for the animals, and handwashing facilities for service animal handlers.
“Guide and Assistance Dogs provide Western Australians with low vision, disability or illness with the confidence and independence to access and participate in the community. This includes supporting their handlers while travelling by air,” said Guide Dog Services Manager Anna Presser.
“The new SARAs will enable handlers to safely toilet their Guide or Assistance Dog before and after boarding a flight in an environment that provides comfort and dignity.”
Guide Dog Mobility Instructors and Trainers from Guide Dogs WA provided input into the new facilities including advice on the requirements of both the dogs and their handlers, as well as placement, features and comfort.
Access Consultants from low vision specialist provider VisAbility, service partner to Guide Dogs WA, also provided input into the physical, sensory and cognitive access entry points for each SARA, ensuring all elements have sufficient contrast, and accessible signage such as Braille and audio.
Consultancy addressed the whole journey experience and dignified access for all travellers whether they are arriving or departing.
Guide Dogs WA Acting Chief Executive Officer Tim Platts said “It’s fantastic to see Western Australia and Perth Airport leading the way in accessible facilities for passengers with disabilities. SARAs have been successfully implemented in many airports around the world, and we were pleased to provide our expert input into making this facility available to WA passengers with Guide or Assistance Dogs.”
SARA facilities are available now in Perth Airports T1 and T4.