Case Study: Canberra Airport

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Case Study: Canberra Airport

Our Journey Towards Inclusivity and Accessibility
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The difficulties faced by people with disability travelling by air has regularly been in the news over the past few years. Stories of broken wheelchairs and people left waiting without support has left many wheelchair users, feeling nervous about air travel.

“Airports are complicated areas. There are different companies working together and it is hard to know who is responsible for what area” explains SCIA’s Advocacy Manager and wheelchair user, Tony. Tony explains that regulations exist and are continually being renewed to support people with a disability travelling by plane, however the pace of change can be slow.


The team at Canberra Airport Security proactively wanted to welcome people with disabilities and ensure their teams are comfortable assisting people with a disability. However, the work of security in an airport is critical and screening procedures cannot be easily adapted to be more accessible because security is paramount, and this is made even more difficult when the airport is busy.


Canberra Airport chose to do SCIA’s face-to-face inclusion training as this would provide them a training program targeted specifically for Canberra airport processes. SCIA visited the airport ahead of the training to identify potential barriers or ‘pain points’ and include our solutions through the training with the team.

On the day of training, the security teams learned through the sharing of real-life experiences and were encouraged to view the airport through the eyes of a person with a disability. We understood that not all processes could not change and so the training focussed on inclusive language, shared understanding, and customer service.

Decision makers

Understand the business case for now and in the future.

Team Members

Boost confidence and ensure a high standard of service delivery.

SCIA’s inclusion team understand that accessibility and inclusion can be developed through shared understanding, forethought, and customer service. We deliver inclusion training targeted to an organisation, delivered by people with disability. SCIA’s training is focused on an accessible space and an inclusive welcome.

Our training is:

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By completing the training, the Canberra Airport team were able to ensure a high standard of service for those travelling through their airport. One member who travelled shortly after the training told us the attention to good service was outstanding.

“At Canberra Airport, we pride ourselves in our passenger’s journey through the terminal, we aim to provide a smooth and seamless experience for all travellers. The team at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), through their inclusion workshops, are educating and providing insights to our security screening and customer service teams through the lenses of individuals with lived experience of disability. The key takeaway of “communication before action” resonated with the group and has become a part of our ethos when accommodating individuals with disabilities. Having completed the SCIA workshop, our airport staff feel more confident and prepared to welcome individuals with disabilities through our airport and ensure their experience is as comfortable as possible.”

Jenny Thornhill
Team Leader – Aviation, Security & Compliance at Canberra Airport