Turkish Airlines trains staff on sign language

ISTANBUL: Flight attendants working for the national carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) took classes on sign language as the airline seeks to expand its services to passengers.

Young woman showing an address hand gesture during a sign language classesThirty flight attendants completed classes in the last stage of the program.

Nevin Çolak, director of THY flight services, said at a press conference where the program was introduced that flight attendants who know sign language are already on several flights.

The course came ahead of next month’s Deaflympics, one of the biggest international sports events for the hearing impaired. The northern Turkish province of Samsun will host the 2017 edition of the event, which will be attended by about 8,000 hearing impaired athletes.

“This is an important occasion for us. Athletes and delegations accompanying them will travel with THY and our trained attendants will be helpful in addressing all their needs,” Çolak said.

She said the carrier had about 6,000 hearing-impaired passengers last year and they expected more in the near future with introduction of attendants fluent in sign language.

Trained flight attendants will be exclusively assigned to flights with hearing impaired passengers. Currently, THY is employing 130 flight attendants who have already taken the sign language courses.

Sefer Uysal, a flight attendant, said he volunteered for the course because he “felt sorry for not being able to help a 7-year-old deaf girl aboard a flight three months ago.”

“She told me something and I couldn’t communicate with her. I had to ask her family about what she wanted. This made me feel bad,” he said.

Source: dailysabah

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