Thousands of square meters, millions of people moving around with their suitcases, hundreds of check-in desks and many procedures to follow. Managing an airport is not easy: it is a very large indoor space where people feel lost. But, in all this, it is necessary to pay special attention to people with reduced mobility (PRM). This is a challenge for the companies that provide this service because they need to know where their staff is at all times. Situm MRM, a unique solution for employee tracking, monitoring and management is the best tool to achieve this. Indoor geolocation is the best tool to improve PRM service at airports.
Large airports have become real airport cities and undoubtedly tend to cause stress for most passengers. Everybody must move, sometimes against the clock, between very distant points or different terminals in an unfamiliar environment. But it is much more complicated for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM), who always feel a certain uncertainty about how their journey will be and whether the environment and assistance will be adapted to them.
In order to stop these differences and ensure that any user with mobility problems or disabilities is able to travel without problems and make use of the airport services, the companies that provide these services are working to incorporate new systems and qualified personnel. The managers of these spaces are aware of the obligation to ensure that any passenger, whatever their physical limitations, receives the help they need to be able to make their journey. In Europe, to guarantee this, the European Parliament regulates by law (Regulation EC 1107/2006) the attention services to passengers with reduced mobility. Outside Europe, there are also rules on this subject. For example, in the USA, the Air Carrier Access Act requires training for airline and contractor staff dealing with the travelling public.
PRM demand will continue to increase in the future
Numbers showing the volume of passengers at major airports can be dizzying. For example, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the USA serves more than 100 million passengers in a single year and an average of about 275,000 travellers and almost 2,500 flights per day. We do not have data on the number of passengers who made use of reduced mobility services, but we do know in the case of Heathrow that during 2016 it served just over 1.2 million people who requested this service.
It is about a part of the population that is increasingly willing to travel. Younger people feel more integrated and willing to travel for both leisure and work, and therefore demand the necessary attention to do so. In addition, the older population that continues to use air transport is growing and it is necessary to prepare the environment to be able to provide them with the necessary care.
In the United Kingdom, extensive research commissioned by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and ComRes was carried out on PRM service at its airports from which we can draw important conclusions that can be extrapolated to the rest of Europe:
- 57% of the interviewees who recognize some form of disability or limitation still encounter problems accessing the airport or flying.
- Seven out of ten of these passengers say that they would need specific assistance from the airport or airline.
- 79% of those who received assistance for their last trip said they were satisfied with this service.
- This segment of the population is increasingly travelling by air. Three out of five expect to fly the same number of times next year (59%) and 23% expect to fly more often. This means that it is a service whose demand is increasing.
The great challenge: a service that must reach everyone and be readjusted
Although the protocol for the provision of PRM services insists on the need for these passengers to request it in advance, reality shows us that on many occasions this is not what happens. It becomes a challenge for the management since they must also respond to these unpredictable cases with an agile service without delays. According to OmniServ, the company that provides PRM services in Heathrow, approximately 30% of the cases that arise have not been previously noticed. Obviously, they are still served, so you need to have the resources and systems in place to adapt to unforeseen events.
It does not only depend on passengers giving a forewarning but also that in the dynamics of any airport it is essential to be prepared to provide this service with a lot of flexibility. Air transport undergoes many changes on the fly, due to delays, changes of route, etc. Without a doubt, this is a challenge for any airport manager in terms of staff management.
Moreover, if until now the attention to people with physical or cognitive limitations was exclusively linked to the management of flight formalities, now many airports at an international level are making an effort so that they can enjoy all the services of these airport cities. The current trend of the service is that these users can make use of shops, restaurants, exhibitions, private spaces… in the same way as any other.
Staff geolocation in real time: the key to a good PRM service in airports
There is no doubt that the challenge that airport operators and managers face is enormous and only with good workforce planning and the use of appropriate indoor location technology can this coverage be guaranteed.
At Situm, we offer an indoor geolocation-based solution that always allows to control PRM staff and plan effective deployments. Our experience with major European airport managers, and especially with the main service providers in Spanish airports, means that our indoor positioning system is tailored exactly to their requirements. Among the most immediate advantages of our technology we can highlight:
- No installation or use of beacons is required as our technology takes advantage of the WiFi and Bluetooth infrastructure already in place. Therefore, the investment in infrastructure is minimal.
- The implementation time takes just around one week. In a few days the indoor location technology is ready to work.
- It is only necessary that the staff has a Smartphone to be located and monitored in real time.
- Staff monitoring visualization is done on a single screen, significantly streamlining the decision making.
- Increases worker safety by reducing reaction time in emergencies, as Situm can provide intelligent alarms such as Man-Down or Panic Button.
- The experience of Situm Support and service team will be at your disposal throughout the implementation and deployment.
In order to improve the working dynamics Situm MRM allows:
- Efficient and transparent workflow with an open, analyzable and auditable operation. All locations of each PMR assistant can be determined in real time to check if they are covering their assigned position or route.
- It ensures a significant improvement in airport management: decision making will be better informed with clear analysis of all interiors.
- The total coverage of the space and the awareness from the head office about where all PRM assistance personnel is located, allows to rethink the distribution of staff on the go.
- Resolution of conflicts or disagreements: all information is recorded, so that any activity is verifiable. The system provides analytics by way of heat maps, tracked trajectories, access to restricted areas, staff distribution or the activity time.
- The good planning of the service will allow the reduction of the assistance time and significant saving in costs.
- Situations of neglect or delay in PRM assistance will be avoided, thus avoiding damage to the reputation of the airport.
If you are interested in implementing Situm MRM to manage your service to passengers with reduced mobility through indoor positioning, do not hesitate to contact us using this form.