Bournemouth Airport has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading diabetes research charities to raise awareness of a condition that affects an estimated one in every 14 members of the public, potentially 60,000 people using the airport every year.
The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled in 20 years to 4.9 million, with an estimated 537 million people affected globally.
And for people travelling with the condition, which causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high or too low, it can present real challenges.
As part of World Diabetes Day on 14th November, Bournemouth Airport is working with the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation to raise awareness of the condition, its symptoms and how travellers through the airport can be supported.
The campaign, which also involves Bournemouth’s sister airports in Exeter and Norwich, includes a pre-travel checklist for passengers with diabetes which has been produced by the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation and is available via their website.
The charity is also producing a training video aimed at all airport staff to help them spot the signs and symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) or high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia), and what they can do to help.
Sarah Tutton, Chief Executive of the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, said: “Diabetes is a complex condition that can be both life limiting and life threatening, but all types of diabetes can be managed effectively with early diagnosis, the right treatment, information and support.
“We’re delighted to be working with Bournemouth Airport because travelling can be very challenging for people with diabetes, especially when flying and having to navigate airport security while carrying medicines, wearable devices essential to insulin delivery or blood glucose monitoring and needing to carry foods to eat or drink to maintain stable blood glucose levels.”
Steve Gill, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: “We pride ourselves on supporting passengers with hidden disabilities to make their experience through the airport as safe and enjoyable as possible.
“There are a potential 60,000 people with diabetes using the airport every year. By working with Sarah and her team at the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation our goal is to raise general awareness of the condition and ensure that our staff know how to provide help and support if required. It’s another example of how regional airports continually innovate to provide the highest standards of assistance and care.”
The campaign is being backed by former RAF jet pilot Douglas Cairns, who had to give up his military flying career aged 25 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Undeterred, he became the first pilot with type 1 diabetes to complete a round-the-world flight in 2003 and has been a tireless campaigner to enable people with insulin-treated diabetes to fly privately and professionally worldwide, co-founding the group Pilots with Diabetes.
Douglas said: “I’ve spent more than half my life highlighting why diabetes need not limit the scope of people’s dreams and ambitions, and travelling should be no different. But awareness and education is so important and that is why this collaboration between Bournemouth, Exeter and Norwich Airports and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation is a fantastic initiative which will be warmly welcomed by people living with all forms of diabetes.”
Bournemouth, Exeter and Norwich Airports are owned and operated by leading regional airport operator Regional & City Airports. Each airport assists passengers with hidden disabilities in a variety of ways and operates a Sunflower Lanyard system which alerts staff that a passenger may have a condition that may not be obvious.
All three airports have been ranked ‘very good’ – the highest ranking –in the Civil Aviation Authority’s most recent Airport Accessibility Report for the quality of customer service provided to passengers with a disability or who are less mobile.
To mark World Diabetes Day the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation will have a team at Bournemouth Airport in the same week to raise awareness among passengers and airport staff about the condition.
To find out more and get a diabetes travel checklist, visit: Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation