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Autism friendly award

Edinburgh Airport first in Scotland to be recognised.

Edinburgh Airport has become the first airport in Scotland to achieve an Autism Friendly Award in recognition of the accessible and supportive environment created for autistic passengers.

The award recognises the assistance measures put in place at the airport to improve the experience for people on the autism spectrum as well as their families or carers.

The busy nature of an airport can sometimes make the experience for passengers challenging and a number of measures have been introduced at Edinburgh Airport to help mitigate that. These include:

  • additional training for staff to help passengers with additional needs
  • an Edinburgh Airport specific Social Story to help children prepare for the journey
  • a pre-visit to the airport to familiarise with the sights and sounds of the airport environment
  • discreet lanyard and pin badges to identify those with hidden disabilities so staff are aware of the need for additional support
  • providing children’s books to children who haven’t travelled before, or who need something extra to help them prepare

Autism AwardChief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said:

“Airports can be extremely busy places and that can be quite daunting for people with additional needs, especially if they rely on a routine which a place like an airport can upset.

“We’ve looked at that and considered where we could make simple but effective changes to make the journey through Edinburgh Airport as easy as possible for those with autism and other additional needs.

“Our staff and partners have worked together to provide this service and this award is a clear indication of our commitment to make Edinburgh as accessible as possible for the 13 million passengers who use the airport every year.”

Kim Gibbons travels through Edinburgh Airport regularly with her son, Ryan, who has autism. She said: “Places like airports can cause Ryan distress due to the high number of people and different noises so we have always been wary of travelling, but the fantastic assistance we receive from the staff at Edinburgh Airport has helped make the situation easier.

“Knowing we have that support means we now travel more regularly as the staff know us very well and have created a good relationship with Ryan, which also helps his journey through the airport.”

Seven-year-old Ryan added:

“I really like airports and aeroplanes so it’s really exciting when I come to the airport to go away, and the people who help us through the airport are very helpful and friendly.”

Jenny Paterson, director of the National Autistic Society Scotland said:

“I am very impressed by the comprehensive approach the team at Edinburgh Airport has taken to improving access for autistic passengers.

“Visiting the airport can be a very stressful, and sometimes daunting experience for autistic people and their families – these changes will make a huge difference to their experience.

“The Airport is very deserving of our Autism Friendly Award and has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring autistic visitors are supported and know what to expect when they transit though Scotland’s busiest airport.”


More on Edinburgh Airport’s additional needs services and materials:

The Autism Friendly Award, administered by the National Autistic Society Scotland, recognises organisations that have taken steps to ensure autistic people and their families can access and enjoy their public spaces. It was introduced after the charity revealed that 66 per cent of autistic people in Scotland feel socially isolated.

The Scottish Parliament became the first building in Scotland to scoop the Award in 2015. It is also held by Aberdeen Football Club, the Glasgow Film Theatre and the Macrobert Arts Centre, amongst others.

Raising the bar

Edinburgh Airport signs up to Best Bar None scheme.

Bars, restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh Airport have become the first in a UK airport to sign up to the Best Bar None scheme which encourages safe and enjoyable atmospheres for customers and staff.

smiling bar tenderThe airport has signed up for the voluntary scheme after working closely with Best Bar None Scotland and Police Scotland to champion best practice within an airport environment and ensure the highest standards of customer care.

Staff at the bars, restaurants and cafes will share good practice and receive additional training to provide safe venues and reduce alcohol related incidents, which are already at extremely low levels within the airport.

Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said:

“We want passengers to enjoy their airport experience and start their trip off in a positive manner, which is why staff and police already engage with them to remind them of their own responsibilities.

“Alcohol related incidents at Edinburgh Airport are already extremely low thanks to highly visible officers who regularly engage with passengers, but this scheme sets that bar even higher, testing us against the highest standards.

“The Best Bar None Scotland scheme will see our establishments offer quality, enjoyable venues for people to enjoy, but send a clear message to the very small minority that any disruption caused excessive alcohol consumption is not acceptable.”

Mandy Haeburn-Little, Chair of Best Bar None Scotland, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that Edinburgh Airport has taken the decision to be the flagship Best Bar None airport – the first ever in the UK. I commend Gordon Dewar and his team for their leadership.

“We have all heard and indeed many of us have experienced holidays or travel where other passengers have just had a drink too much and this can make travelling less pleasant for others. Edinburgh Airport has consistently shown itself to be very considerate of the needs of passengers and this is excellent news which I very much hope that other airports will follow. It shows a commitment to standards which will provide a guarantee of customer care and safety in all the licensed venues in the airport.

“The reality is that legislation may change in the next few years which will make these changes enforceable and today Edinburgh Airport has shown itself to be leading this change which passengers and travellers expect, in ensuring a great environment for everyone. Best Bar None already operates widely across Scotland with 430 venues and the airport makes a very welcome addition to this.”

Police Scotland will be responsible for implementing the Best Bar None scheme at Edinburgh Airport and Airport Inspector Roddy Bainton said:

“A Best Bar None award recognises the high value that licensees place on customer care and safety and we are very pleased that all the licensed outlets at the airport are coming together to show this commitment.

“All travellers should feel safe coming through the airport and we work hard with airport management and staff, shops and food retailers, and our colleagues in border control and customs to create a welcoming environment – this is another positive contribution.

“Passengers can be confident that with this award in place, irresponsible drinking which leads to any criminality or anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and will be robustly dealt with.”

Best Bar None

Best Bar None operates throughout Scotland and over 430 venues have been accredited as part of the scheme this year.

Best Bar None is sponsored by Diageo, Molson Coors, Heineken, Tennents, Maxxium and Chivas Brothers and is supported by Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, the Scottish Licenced Trade Association and the Scottish Government.

The scheme is administered nationally by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and delivered locally through representatives from local authorities, Police Scotland and Business Improvement Districts.

The Best Bar None website can be found at:

For further information on Best Bar None please contact Felicity MacFarlane at Indigo on 0131 554 1230 or

Scotland’s largest independent brewer is to make Edinburgh Airport home to its first ever airport bar.

BrewDog will open its doors this summer, offering passengers a range of beers from its Aberdeenshire-based brewery alongside those hand-picked from craft breweries from around the world. Famed for its wide selection of craft beers, it will also serve food to passengers and will be homed in the terminal’s brand-new extension, part of an £80 million expansion project.

brewdog productsIt’s the first of many establishments expected to open this year at Scotland’s busiest airport, widening choice and variety for the 13.4 million passengers who travel through the terminal every year.

Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said:

“We’re a modern airport that wants to offer our passengers a taste of modern Scotland, and working with one of the country’s most successful breweries certainly does that.

“BrewDog and Edinburgh Airport are both worldwide names so this is a fantastic partnership and we’re delighted to be the first airport in the world to be home to a BrewDog bar.

“Variety and choice for passengers are at the heart of our strategy and BrewDog adds to the already wide range of facilities we have at Scotland’s busiest airport, and we will continue to expand where we can.”

Graeme Hamilton, Head of Retail Partnerships at BrewDog, commented:

“This is an exceptionally exciting new adventure for us as we seek to introduce even more people to the incredible world of craft beer. Airports have always been high on our hit list for extending our bar division, and we’re looking forward to welcoming Edinburgh’s travellers to our first ever airport venue.

“Craft beer is an incredibly inclusive scene, with some amazing, eclectic breweries appearing every day around the world. Our international approach to sourcing brilliant beer matches perfectly with the airport environment where many are looking to explore new cultures and countries. Now you can start that journey with an awesome, boundary-pushing craft beer.”

Managing Director of TRG Concessions, Nick Ayerst said:

“We are delighted to be opening the world’s first BrewDog airport bar in Edinburgh, it seems only right that it should be in the capital city of the company’s home nation and will provide passengers with food, drink and a unique experience that they will be sure to want elsewhere.”

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