Travelers who are blind or have low vision now have access to new assistive technology when they visit Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.

The technology is known as Aira. 

Through a mobile app or smart glasses, Aira connects users to Aira agents. 

Those agents are able to view a user’s environment through mobile phone cameras and describe objects, read signage, provide navigation, take and label photos and more. 

In a news release, the Winnipeg Airport Authority said Richardson International is only the second airport in Canada to offer the technology. 

“Every traveller through our facilities should come anticipating an exceptional customer experience, including those with sight loss or who are partially sighted,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. 

“Winnipeg Airports Authority is committed to bringing new technology to the airport to increase accessibility and reduce the barriers travellers sometimes experience. 

We are pleased that through our partnership with Aira, travel at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is now easier for people who are blind or have low-vision.” 

The personalized experience provided through the app allows each user to access visual information on their own schedule as they move through each step of travelling to their destination. 

Having another airport adopt Aira is one more step toward a more inclusive world," says Mike Randall, CEO of Aira. "We often assume that as the world moves toward automation and digital information, it becomes more inclusive. 

The reality is, it can often be more exclusive. Aira is committed to ensuring everyone can participate equally, and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is helping make that happen." 

“The CNIB Foundation has been working in close consultation with many partners to identify ways to improve the travel experience for passengers with sight loss at Canada’s airports,” says Leonard Furber, Executive Director, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Manitoba. 

“This announcement is a positive step on the journey to improving airport accessibility for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. We commend the Winnipeg Airport Authority for its ongoing commitment to inclusivity.”