Managing Passengers with Reduced Mobility

 

The number of passengers requiring special wheelchair assistance at airports is steadily increasing. Currently, we’re looking at a growth rate of 10-15% per year, whereas the annual growth rate of overall passengers is merely 3%. This means a that the number of Passenges with Reduced Mobility (PRM) will double every 4-5 years!

 

Around 74 million travellers pass through London Heathrow Airport every year. 1.2% of them are Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM), which means they require wheelchair assistance to get around the airport.

 

This seemingly low percentage equals a total of almost 900,000 people per year averaging out to 2,500 people per day. And LHR is not the only airport facing the challenges that come with this trend.

 

10% of the European population suffers from reduced mobility, in the US it’s even more, owed not only to age and physical disability, but more and more also to obesity.  

 

Modern airports bear particular challenges for these people, as they are not only equipped with complex infrastructure, but are also built on multiple levels with long walking distances from the check-in counter to the gate.

 

Therefore, airports had to react to the increasing number of PRMs with guided wheelchair services to help them get around. An EU regulation that came into effect in 2006, additionally accelerated this initiative.  

PRM service at the airport

Airport wheelchair service for PRMs

— Watch our video on Personnel and Asset Tracking for airports—

 

The challenge with PRM management

PRM management is a not so easy to handle, and many different factors play into that. First of all, specially trained personnel is needed, as not just anybody is eligible to manage PRMs. Therefore, it is utterly important that these human resources are allocated and used efficiently.

 

As long as not all passengers are disembarked from the previous flight, airlines cannot take new passengers on board. PRM agents, therefore, always need to be at the right place at the right time to avoid costly delays.

 

Delays pose a threat to an airline’s as well as an airport’s slot schedule, which can have especially dire consequences for low-cost airlines, which depend on a high number of flights per day to make profit. Not to forget the inconvenience a missed flight would cause for the passenger with reduced mobility.

 

Moreover, such a case, if a PRM missed a flight, because the special assistance service agent failed to take the passenger to the right gate in time, could cause serious negative publicity for both, airline and airport.

 

One of the most common problems is that passengers often fail to announce that they need wheelchair assistance in time. Usually, the request needs to be made around 36 hours before takeoff. If there are unannounced PRMs on a plane that just arrived, as well as last-minute PRMs for upcoming departures, no-shows who don’t cancel the service, combined with additional changes to gates, schedule etc., managing PRMs becomes quite a challenge.

 

Frankfrut Airport was one of the first to implement encompassing wheelchair services for impaired people. According to them, the biggest challenge is managing PRMs during rush hours, as not only the passengers, but also the staff needs to pass security checks, costing a lot of time when resources are sparse.

 

To handle up to 3,000 PRMs every day, an efficient system to keep an overview of each resource and organise workflows is required. indoo.rs offers an Indoor Positioning system solution that provides exactly that.

 

The challenges:

  • 3,000 passengers with reduced mobility per day
  • Help them move around the airport
  • Efficient management system for PRMs and resources (human and wheelchairs/buggies) required

 

Effective PRM solution for airports

indoo.rs provides real-time Indoor Asset Tracking solutions for inventory and personnel. For airports, this means that all PRM agents, can be monitored and localized. Their and the wheelchairs/buggies’ status (either vacant or in use), can easily be identified via backend dashboard.

 

Additionally, certain stations, between the PRM helpdesk and the gate, serve as checkpoints and record timestamps when the agent and PRM pass it, e.g. 12:03, Agent XY and Passenger Z entered security.

PRM wheelchair status

Wheelchairs’ availability status and count will be shown on a dashboard

Whenever a Passenger with Reduced Mobility requests assistance at the PRM helpdesk, their flight details will be recorded and saved in the system. An agent, identified as available will be notified and assigned to the task.

 

The agent will then locate the closest available wheelchair and pick up the passenger to drive them to their respective gate. Thereafter, the agent as well as the wheelchair will be displayed as available again. As soon as the next PRM asks for help, this cycle repeats itself.

Watch our video showing PRM management at an airport with indoo.rs

 

Knowing where your personnel and assets are located at any time and being able to interact with all resources in real time via one central system, gives you a significant advantage over outdated monitoring methods, like manual logs or security cameras. Personnel can be assigned to tasks more efficiently and vacant assets located instantly, saving lots of time and money.

 

Knowing where your personnel and assets are located at any time and being able to interact with all resources in real time via one central system, gives you a significant advantage over outdated monitoring methods, like manual logs or security cameras.

 

Personnel can be assigned to tasks more efficiently and vacant assets located instantly, saving lots of time and money.

The indoo.rs solution in a nutshell:

  • Helps PRMs get to their gate on time
  • Tracking assets and personnel in real-time
  • Dashboard overview of all resources with availability status
  • Timestamps allow for effective monitoring
  • Integrated communication and task assignment
  • Location-based task assignment and asset usage
  • Finding available and closeby assets instantly
  • Saves time and costs

 

Download our PRM Onepager

 

Interested in our PRM solution? Get in touch with us now!

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