PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 15, 2005--The Mayor's Commission on People With Disabilities has recognized the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Review Committee with its 2005 Access Achievement Award for its accomplishments in fostering the Airport's accessibility for travelers with visual, hearing, speech, mobility and other disabilities. The Committee's numerous achievements earned it the Access Achievement Award in the Local Government/Public Service Entity category for "outstanding commitment to increasing access for people with disabilities through the removal of physical and attitudinal barriers."
The Access Achievement Award was presented to Committee Chair Richard Dempsey, an employee in the Airport's Technical Services unit, at the Commission's 10th Annual awards breakfast on October 21st. The Committee was one of more than a half-dozen organizations and individuals honored.
"Congratulations to the Airport and the ADA Review Committee for this well-deserved honor," said Mayor John F. Street. "The Committee's achievements in making our Airport user-friendly for travelers with disabilities are a credit to the City. It is details such as this that have earned Philadelphia a reputation as the 'Next Great American City.'"
Tasked with ensuring the Airport's compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA Review Committee was formed in November 1994 to foster communication between people with disabilities and the Airport and to identify and resolve accessibility issues. The Committee, which meets at least every other month, is composed of representatives from the Airport, the City, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, Transportation Security Administration, airlines, and advocates for those with disabilities.
"The ADA Review Committee has become the voice of all travelers with disabilities that use our facilities," said Charles J. Isdell, the City's Director of Aviation, who nominated the Committee for the award. "It views challenges put before it as opportunities to improve the Airport. People with disabilities recognize the ADA Review Committee as the entity that is committed to making sure that Philadelphia International Airport is accessible to all our travelers."
Throughout the years, the Committee's efforts have accomplished many objectives for the benefit of travelers with disabilities. These include:
-- The construction of ramps and uniform curb cuts to facilitate the use of wheelchairs
-- The establishment of Handicapped drop-off and pick-up zones
-- The introduction of a dedicated telephone hotline number to assist passengers in obtaining mobility assistance from the airlines
-- The installation of ATMs equipped with earjacks and instructions in Braille
-- The creation of the Getting Around Guide, a brochure describing the Airport's services and facilities geared to travelers with disabilities. This brochure is available in hard copy as well as in alternate formats, including Braille, audio cassette and electronic versions of pdf and Word. It can also be obtained by calling (215) 937-5513 (TDD/TTY, 215-937-6755), or e-mail (rick.Dempsey@phl.org).
-- The offering of ADA Awareness Training Sessions to all Airport employees.
There are also currently 31 Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD/TTY) public payphones located throughout the Airport as well as signs directing users to the nearest TDD/TTY.
ADA compliant stalls are available in all of the Airport's 122 restrooms, which include companion care restrooms.
The Philadelphia Airport System is owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia and is composed of Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The Airport System is a self-sustaining entity that operates without the use of local tax dollars. It is one of the largest economic engines in Pennsylvania, generating an estimated $14 billion in spending to the regional economy and employing a workforce of nearly 34,000.
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Charles J. Isdell, the City's Aviation Director, is one of 14 individuals being recognized by The PENJERDEL Council as "Masters of the Infrastructure."
In 2005, the total 31.5 million passengers who used Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) represented a healthy 10.5% boost in passenger traffic over 2004.
Before implementation of the Airport's smoke-free policy, passengers and employees could smoke at a limited number of bars and restaurants.