Paralympic shot put thrower Francisca Mardones has praised the new Airport for All scheme ©Santiago 2023

People with disabilities flying to Santiago for the Pan American and Parapan American Games are set to benefit from a new passenger assistance scheme.

Santiago 2023 organisers have launched the "Airport for All" programme with the aim of improving accessibility at the Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in the Chilean capital.

Around 9,000 athletes and Para athletes are expected to arrive at the airport for both multi-sport events later this year.

It is hoped that the Airport for All scheme will bolster services for people with reduced mobility, disabilities and those with autism.

Santiago 2023 ambassador and Paralympic shot put thrower Francisca Mardones was full of praise for the programme.

"I think it's good that they are taking all the necessary measures," said the former wheelchair tennis player.

"This way we will be better prepared to provide a quality service to people with disabilities or reduced mobility who need to travel within the airport.

"I hope that all the training they are carrying out has an immediate effect on the well-being of the people who require the service, especially when they arrive for the Parapan American Games."

The initiative forms part of Santiago 2023’s efforts to ensure accessible and inclusive care at the airport.

Under the plans, a new meeting point will be added in terminal two to request mobility assistance services and more information totems will be located at the entrance gates of terminals one and two.

A total of 14 new electric cars are also expected to be made available.

"This announcement reaffirms the airport's commitment to accessibility issues," said Chilean Paralympic Committee President Sebastián Villavicencio.

"Although they already had some initiatives to support people with disabilities inside the airport, the fact that these can be increased is very good news for people with disabilities in our country and that will be reflected in our Parapan American Games when we receive thousands of Para athletes."

Santiago is scheduled to stage the Pan American Games from October 20 to November 5, followed by the Parapan American Games from November 17 to 26.