The Aira app will connect blind or visually impaired passengers to a professionally trained agent who will guide them through the airport journey.
The free-to-use service, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, uses the camera on the passenger’s mobile phone to help a trained professional guide them through the airport, read flight information and locate bags on the luggage carousel.
The system is being trailed for six months at Gatwick in partnership with easyJet.
Lord David Blunkett, chair of easyJet’s Special Assistance Advisory Group, said: “This is a great experiment and innovation, which I know over time will be life-changing in terms of providing equality to passengers with no or little sight. This ground-breaking technological breakthrough will allow the partnership between easyJet and Gatwick to demonstrate, for future use across airports here and across the world, just how a simple app and addition to an iPhone or other similar technology can make such a difference.
“I know from my own experience that it will take a bit of technical expertise but also just how liberating this could be, both for those who just need a little extra help as well as for those passengers who want to complement the wider assistance available with an independent solution that they can use themselves.”
Chris Woodroofe, chief operating officer at Gatwick airport, added: “Airports are complex environments and this new system helps to give blind and visually impaired passengers more independence so they can more easily relax and enjoy their time at Gatwick.
“We have an ambition to be the UK’s most accessible airport and we are looking to do this by investing and innovating and by putting the needs of every passenger at the heart of our operation. Ultimately we want to make sure that everybody has an equal opportunity to fly.”