Lexus-only parking reversal: Calgary airport apologizes after replacing accessible spots for luxury car owners
Lexus-only parking spots replaced 9 handicap parking stalls at the Calgary International Airpot as part of a marketing campaign for the luxury car maker. (Andy Nichols/Postmedia Network)
Calgary International Airport has apologized for moving parking stalls reserved for those with disabilities and setting up a Lexus marketing campaign in their place.
The pavement in the parking spots close to the terminal had recently been painted to indicate they were reserved for drivers of the luxury car. New stalls for those with disabilities were displaced to the row just behind.
The issue was initially brought to the airport’s attention by a man who saw the stalls being painted while he was dropping off his mother, said Jody Moseley, the Calgary Airport Authority’s senior director of corporate communications and stakeholder relations.
It wasn’t long before outrage started spreading on social media.
Moseley said Lexus-branded stalls throughout the parkade, including the designated disabled ones, are being returned to their previous states.
“The airport apologizes for even considering looking at these spots. Accessibility is important to us,” she said Tuesday.
“I think clearly we didn’t put enough thought into the impact that would have on our passengers and we apologize.”
We apologize for the recent parking campaign and its impact to passengers at YYC. We are going to fix it. https://t.co/BZ7svfzocf— YYC (@FlyYYC) August 22, 2017
The accessible spots that were added in the next row will remain, meaning there will be more spots reserved for people with disabilities than before.
The airport authority is also apologizing to Lexus Canada, which it says played no role in picking which parking spots were used in the campaign.
Lexus Canada said in a statement it asked the airport to correct the situation as quickly as possible and offered a mea culpa of its own.
“In the future, we will more carefully scrutinize the details of these types of marketing campaigns,” said Michael Bouliane, manager of corporate communications for the car company.
“We were truly embarrassed by this mistake. It shouldn’t have happened and we are taking steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
We would like to offer our apologies to anyone affected by a recent marketing campaign at the Calgary airport. The issue is being addressed. https://t.co/VGUN2TKx87— Lexus Canada (@lexuscanada) August 22, 2017
Moseley said the Calgary Airport Authority does not receive funding from any level of government and marketing campaigns like the one with Lexus are a way to bring in money.
“There is quite a bit of pressure to find revenue to ensure that we can do what we need to do and build and develop the airport,” she said.
“We’re always looking at opportunities to minimize the direct impact to our airlines and our passengers and look at different revenue sources.”
The Edmonton International Airport launched a similar marketing campaign with Lexus last year but Traci Bednard, vice president of market development for the airport, said it did not displace any spots reserved for those with disabilities.
It's good to apologize and reverse, but I'd recommend some sensitivity training around the challenges that people with disabilities face.— Reg Curren (@newsmanbluesman) August 22, 2017
Exactly what happens when you let the marketing department run the airport.— Ian Hamilton (@UKTransplant1) August 22, 2017
nice apology - now hire appropriate and functional consultants to review the planning of such things— Kim McLeod (@GrandmaKim) August 22, 2017
And fire whoever thought it was a good idea.— Trish (@Narniabidness99) August 22, 2017
Whoever approved that decision should be fired. There is no possible way they didn't understand who would be impacted. Shame.— Veram Stone (@veramstone) August 22, 2017