Part 1: The changing world of PRM management solutions

Part 1: The changing world of PRM management solutions

PRM Management is the most difficult of all airport services to get right – this article explains why this is the case and why it no longer needs to be.
Original Article published in International Airport Review

Why PRM Management is a crucial yet impossibly complex service for airports to get right – and why things have suddenly started to change?

“PRM”, which stands for “Passengers with Reduced Mobility”, is one of the names used to describe the free service European airports have been legally bound to offer to all passengers with reduced mobility since 2008. All that passengers need to do to get access to the service is to ask for it. Then, they can expect to be taken safely and freely to and from their plane within the airport. Sometimes confusingly, PRM is also known under a variety of other names : “Special Assistance”, “Mobility” and “Wheelchair” services, to mention just three of them.

Though many people work at large airports, only a minority work directly for the airport itself or its airline clients. That is because airports are world experts at outsourcing services on an industrial scale via a wide array of service providers. Most people one sees working at an airport actually work for service providers who have been awarded 3 to 5 year contracts by the airport or the airlines via tenders. These range from “Handlers” who man many of the check-in desks and departure gates at the airport (even if they wear an airline uniform), to baggage, security checkpoint and aircraft turnaround handlers (who see to it aircraft are refuelled, filled with food, luggage and freight, de-iced, etc).

Yet, PRM is fundamentally unlike any other airport service. In fact, it is universally known as the one truly fiendishly complex, if not impossible, service to deliver regularly on time, at the required quality level and according to budget. Industry wisdom has it that if you can run PRM reliably, you can run any service on earth.

What, one may well ask, makes PRM so horribly difficult to master? And why does it matter ?

Let’s start with why PRM is so important. Legally, no plane can be turned around until all PRM passengers have been disembarked – and this can only be done by specially trained personnel employed by PRM providers. Until a qualified agent arrives to disembark the plane’s PRM passenger(s), the plane can’t be cleaned or take on new passengers.

The plane’s next departure slot is at risk as are its daily number of trips objective and the punctuality of all of its subsequent flights. This in turn impacts the airport’s slot schedule. If, as is likely, the plane is late as a result, the cost to the airline for being late to leave its gate will rapidly bite into its profits. One begins to see the severe damage that just one late PRM passenger can make to a plane’s daily schedule. This is even more true for low-cost airlines whose business model depends on faster turnaround times to enable more flights per aircraft per day.

But when things spiral out of control, it isn’t one, but many planes that run the risk of being late. There is also the sensitive question of the PRM passenger’s experience. On the one hand, PRM passengers can suffer greatly as a result of their dependency upon others: when they are late and miss a plane, the impact on them can be many times more traumatising than it would already be for a completely mobile passenger. This is unbearable from a human point of view and dangerous from a PR corporate standpoint as bad publicity can rapidly ensue with dire commercial consequences as the media love to dwell on such incidents.

Second, why is PRM so hard to master ? The answer is that it is a fundamentally unpredictable activity.

The very high volatility of the things PRM assistance depends upon on but has no control over threaten to, and frequently do run havoc with the daily activity: change of gate, switch from jet-bridge to ambulift boarding/un-boarding, SSR type change (classification of the degree of mobility of a passenger ), volume of last-minute un-notified “ad-hoc” passengers, no-show passengers, to mention a few. The pressure rises all the time like milk about to boil : weather provokes delays, accentuating the situation. A large plane comes in with 10 unannounced PRM passengers. Others planes land without their notified PRM passengers showing up, preferring on second thoughts to do without assistance. And so on.

One begins to understand why running a PRM service at a large international airport is not for the fainthearted: it is a little-loved service that frequently turns to disaster from the point of view of passengers, airlines, the airport and the company providing the service. All have learned to fear PRM. If this sounds excessive, consider the following :

  • The majority of large airports in Europe are not capable of providing reliable, traceable basic SLA data that give a true picture of the actual service being delivered. For example, most large airports usually have no reliable answer to apparently simple questions such as “how many PRM passengers used my airport’s PRM service last year” or “How many PRM jobs” were late last year?”
  • Neither the airport nor the provider they appoint through a tender know the true cost of the PRM service because they don’t have the necessary information : they don’t know the real number of PRM passengers who will be provided an actual PRM service. This regularly results in the Provider realising he grossly underestimated the workload and having to degrade the service level well below the defined target level to reduce his costs and avoid losing money and/or having to stop his activity; in the airport having to agree to higher prices mid-contract or see the provider being shut down.
  • Many PRM pre-notified passengers never turn up (a passenger who requested PRM assistance when they booked their flight may change their mind when they land because they feel good enough to proceed alone  while forgetting to inform anyone). These “no show” PRM passengers can represent 14 % of the PRM passenger total – at a large and reasonably-well organised international airport !
  • Many turn up at the airport PRM assistance desk requesting help even though they didn’t “pre-notify” the airline as they are supposed to 36 hours before their flight. Yet, the airport and therefore the provider, is legally obligated to assist them, even if the service turnaround time the provider has to carry out the job is increased.
  • Because there is no centralised system shared by airlines, provider and the airport, no-one knows the net balance of PRM passengers who turn up on any actual day. The provider may not tell the airport that the agent sent to collect a pre-notified passenger on an incoming plane didn’t turn up – what is called a “No show” in the industry – because they fear that they won’t be paid for the job as much or even at all.
  • Many passengers’ names requesting assistance appear several times because the same passenger may forewarn the airline, the PRM provider or an airport helpdesk or checkpoint desk, or passengers are entered on the telephone when they present themselves without pre-notification. Multiple entries of the same passenger under a name with slightly different spellings are often not spotted as duplicates because most PRM IT systems neither centralise nor systematically re-duplicate all PRM job orders. This is how service providers often invoice the airport for more jobs than are actually done without necessarily knowing it ! No official format exists for departure PRM jobs, making this type of mistake easier and considerably more widespread than need be.
  • Discrepancies in crucial airline forewarning (36 hours “Pre-notification”) discipline have been tolerated with the bad performance of some airlines going on lastingly unchallenged. The result is that the service provider’s job of “sizing” their daily activity (determining how many agents they will need to carry all the expected PRM passengers on the day) is impossible to get right. How can you reliably deliver a service when you don’t know if you will have 1 000 or 600 PRM passengers on the day ? Yet 30 to 40 and even 50 % variations between the number of pre-booked PRM jobs and the number turning up on the day are standard.
  • This is because the service provider has to accept people who turn up on the day requesting assistance without having notified their airline previously. If I am feeling tired, have difficulty speaking the language spoken at the airport, orientating myself in a large airport, I am entitled to request assistance for free even if I just turn up un-announced on the day – says the law in Europe. Such passengers are called “ad-hocs”. They are the reason some airlines pre-notify 80, 90 % of their PM passengers while others pre-notify as little as 30 % without this number being rare.
  • Recently, some airports have begun charging airlines with poor pre-notification scores more for the service than they do disciplined airlines, but poor pre-notification performance remains widespread. This impacts PRM passengers with severe mobility restrictions most because the influx of passengers with no or very slightly impaired mobility absorb precious agent resources that should be focused on helping those whose condition really requires their timely, expert assistance. Though, this is ethically and economically unfair, it has gone on largely unchallenged for years.

These challenges are magnified by demographic trends such as an ageing and increasingly overweight and therefore less healthy, population.

This is apparent in the numbers:

PRM passenger growth everywhere is dramatically outpacing overall air travel growth : when large European airports register 3 % annual passenger annual growth, their PRM growth is usually in the 10 to 15 % range. This may sound marginal – it isn’t. It means airport will see their PRM passenger traffic double every 4 to 5 years! The consequences of this discrepancy on PRM passenger service is dramatic because the airport tax that finances PRM services is levied on airlines on the basis of overall traffic growth, not PRM traffic growth.

You would think that faced with such dynamics most airports would take the bull by the horns and take strong measures to ensure PRM services are managed to a particularly high level, would rein in the poor discipline of airlines with dismal pre-notification records, ensure crucially important IT systems are chosen to absorb the activity’s structural unpredictability and accelerate active collaboration between airlines, airport and service providers to slowly but surely improve service outcomes. What has happened in the last few years has been the opposite – denial : “everything is just fine” airports would and still say publicly as the situation deteriorates. This situation is now widely understood by many national airport supervisory bodies in Europe, organisations who represent PRM passenger’s interests and many airport-user exchange groups.

The good news is that things have recently taken a dramatic turn for the better. A few visionary airports have recognized that the traditional model of PRM service provision is broken, unsustainable and very costly in human, financial and reputation terms. They have taken dramatic action with the results starting to show the massive benefits of getting it right. As the omerta about poor service starts to give way and some airports show how things can be dramatically improved, the whole scene is starting to change rapidly. Such airports include Paris Airports CDG and Orly, Brussels airports and now Oslo airport where visionary and forward thinking teams at both the airport and provider level decided it is time to make PRM work effectively.

Thanks to what these forward-thinking airports have done and proved with their very real trusted data, all airports can now quite easily and rapidly deploy major initial implementations in just 3 months.

Part II of this article will come out in the next issue of your PRM Newsletter at the end of June. It will focus on how the particular difficulties that characterize airport PRM services covered in Part I can now be addressed successfully with a host of practical examples. Airports who have opened their eyes to the very real challenges faced by their PRM service delivery teams will now know that the effective, practical and proven answer to their hopes exists – and that nothing prevents them adopting it to finally get the consistently reliable PRM delivery they, their passengers, contractor’s agents and airline clients all want.

2017 – Airport PRM Leadership Conference – Date Announced!

2017 – Airport PRM Leadership Conference – Date Announced!

Paris – April 12, 2017.

 

Building on the success of the first PRM Leadership Conference held at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2016, this years conference will be held on Friday November 10th.

 

The conference will be attended by professionals who oversee PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) services at airports, from airlines, service providers and industry experts who wish to:

 

  • meet their peers and « ecosystem » partners
  • learn from successful recent PRM deployments in Europe
  • discuss new solutions to common, recurrent, PRM issues
  • deepen their insights on why some airports’ PRM services « tick » all the expected boxes and more while others « tick » few and manifestly fail to deliver value

 

PRM Conference topic details

 

We will be informing you about the specific content of the event over the next few months in exciting installments! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team in order to include a topic you believe would add value for everyone.

 

About Ozion Airport Software

Ozion is the organizer and host of the PRM Leadership Conference ™. The company’s software is widely respected for putting right what is seen as not working by a growing majority of professionals in the airport PRM sector.

Ozion publishes three applications:

 

  • Ozion PRM Manager
  • Ozion CheckPoint Manager
  • Ozion Handling Manager

 

In the case of PRM, Ozion’s uniquely passenger-centric application:

 

  • Monitors and tracks the whereabouts  of each PRM passenger as they go through up to 25 milestones in the course of their journey inside the airport from plane to plane (transfer), departure to plane or plane to arrival,
  • Delivers the reliable, full data set that is accessible in real time that the PRM industry has been clamoring for for so long : SLAs (pre-notification numbers, response time to pick up passengers, etc), reliable KPIs (actual time performance, productivity), tracked information (« no-shows », board alone, incidents such as gate changes, out-of-order jet-bridges, CheckPoint traffic jams, …)
  • Generates invoices supported by clear, detailed, trusted evidence the airlines and airport will accept,
  • Allows you to retrieves detailed PRM passenger journey histories justified by accessible trusted evidence to support the full and detailed picture of what happened every step of each customer journey,
  • Enables high productivity job dispatching by calculating and automatically offering the best option to allocate jobs or update existing jobs to immediately factor in the many things that often go wrong during PRM passenger journeys,
  • Provides rapid reporting that shows everything you ever wanted to know reliably in real time in between 5 and 30 minutes as opposed to half a day to a day for the nearest competition,
  • Centralise all job orders in Ozion PRM Manager, de-dupe them to ensure all orders are counted once and no more,
  • Make collaboration between airport, provider and airlines a simple daily reality :
    • enable them to see the position of every PRM pax,
    • know if they will arrive at the gate on time,
    • allow everyone to see real-time pre-notification statistics,
    • let airlines process PRM passengers at check-in desks directly into the Ozion PRM Manager application (via Cute browsers),
    • allow gate agents to see where late Pax are before deciding to close their flight or not, etc.

 

The venue

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

PRM Leadership Conference Meeting Room

If you wish more information or have any questions please contact William Neece at  wneece@ozion-airport.com or on + 33 (0) 6 52 21 32 60.

 

 

Ozion in the NEWS: Paris airport takes lead in innovating services for disabled people

Monday, 13 March 2017 07:50 – Written by Roberto Castiglioni  – Original Article can be found at Reduced Mobility Rights Web site

Making complicated things simple, that’s the spirit behind the ground-breaking PRM management software Paris CDG airport has chosen to enhance services for disabled people.

Romain Theret is the founder of Ozion, the company that created the most advanced PRM management software available on the market, the one Paris Charles de Gaulle airport has been using since 2016.

“Romain believes in making things that are complicated simple and in transforming what doesn’t seem possible into something that works well. In his view, the world is filled with situations that wouldn’t exist if those involved showed an honest assessment of the situation, goodwill, and clear thinking,” explains William Neece, Director of Airport Solutions Ozion Airport Software Europe. “Romain believes that technology can be harnessed to bring people and minds together in solving complex situations.”

Whether the service is assisting PRM passengers or managing the speed of passenger queues at airport checkpoints, software can help only if the goals of those concerned (provider, airport, airlines, passengers) and the detailed processes required to run the activity are clear.

I asked Will to share his thoughts on this. “Highly complex activities usually present a particular challenge that needs to be Charles de Gaulle airport T2 E and Frecognized and overcome if software is to effectively help manage them. In PRM’s case, that challenge is an exceptional level of volatility. PRM is mission-critical for airports: planes can’t leave until PRM passengers are embarked or disembarked by qualified personnel authorized to do so.

The very high volatility of the things PRM assistance depends upon on but has no control over threaten to (or actually) run havoc daily on the activity: change of gate, switch from jetbridge to ambulift boarding/deboarding, SSR type change, volume of last-minute non prenotified passengers, no-show passengers, to mention a few.

The pressure rises all the time like milk about to boil: weather provokes delays, accentuating the situation. A large plane comes in with ten unannounced PRM passengers.

Other planes land without the notified PRM passengers showing up. The number of agents available being finite and the size of the airport means the PRM provider can rapidly run out of available agents to assist passengers.

OZION logoThe challenge isn’t to prevent the high level of uncertainty that notoriously characterizes PRM over all other airport services, it won’t go away, but to design software that can manage that uncertainty even with finite resources, in effect turning a volatile activity into a predictable, manageable one.

If that sounds far-fetched, consider that even though individual PRM passenger journeys are affected by the changes evoked above hundreds if not thousands of times daily at large airports, dispatchers using software from the main vendor of vintage PRM software are still unable to see anything between the moment a passenger is met and the moment the assistance is finished, making them blind to the myriad problems impacting the many steps of PRM passenger journeys, and therefore incapable of adapting efficiently.”

I asked William to give me an idea of which tangible benefits Paris CDG enjoyed after switching to OZION PRM management software.

“CDG took a bold step and decided they would manage their three service providers via a single PRM Software Management William Neecesystem. From the very highest levels of management, they wanted to ensure the best possible service for the entire journey of every PRM Passenger that came through CDG.

Some of the benefits include having instant direct access to the real-time status of every PRM passenger via the app that they now have access to as well as their provider; having trusted data they fully understand.

The software is designed so that up to 25 steps of a passenger PRM journey inside the airport are entered reliably into the system via agent’s  PDAs using the best form of evidence for each step.

The software reporting feature helps CDG management understand what  is the real number of PRM passengers going through the airport every day; the ratio of notified, pre-notified, un-notified passengers; the total number of “no-shows” who failed to turn up to meet the agent;     passengers whose job was partial (e.g. Passengers who choose to “board alone” after getting through security.

The software also ensures accurate billing as a direct result of counting only fully delivered jobs only once. It offer airlines access to the application with different levels of access rights according to user profile clearances, in effect making it possible for; airline check-in agents to confirm pre-notified agents themselves directly into the Ozion app via their Cute PC; Gate agents to see where the PRM passenger on their flight who have not yet arrived at the gate are; Airline Hub teams supervising PRM passengers to see the status of every passenger everything about their passengers.

After the first year with OZION PRM software CDG management found that efficiency has gone up; there are fewer problems, analysis of recurrent problems (thanks to trusted detailed passenger journey histories saved automatically and accessible at all time to eliminate them); fewer people on the airport team supervising PRM now that all the information arrives at them reliably; agent productivity is going up as it is constantly being analyzed and ways found to improve it;  dispatcher productivity : starting to be measured in order to see where efficiency gains can be made; costs (at constant PRM volume) will also go down when the airport organizes its next tender in 2 to 4 years because the airport will be in a better and ideal position to buy the service now that it understands it much better; ability to buy the service at tender with requisite amount of information to ensure the business model will work for both parties.”

Paris Aeroport logoListening to Will I get the idea OZION could be a must have for airports, but efficiency is just one piece of the puzzle. I asked him if this product helps improve the passenger experience.

“Yes, definitely. Now that all 3 CDG PRM providers use the system, they can take better care of passengers for several reasons.

When a problem crops up that may affect a job, it appears immediately in the system so that everyone is aware of the situation that needs to be managed until it is fixed. This is in strong contrast to what happened before when dispatchers had no visibility on jobs that went wrong (many do because of the structural volatility of the service) because they software merely informed them if a job had begun and if it had ended, not if it had a problem in between);

There are fewer cases of passengers waiting because the system makes it possible to proactively anticipate problems about to develop and provide a solution before that happens;

As the airport has access to complete, trusted data on each passenger PRM journey, they are in a much better position to communicate with airlines, including holding them to higher pre-notification standards.

Over time, that will contribute to better airline behavior, which in turn will improve the overall service by not stretching it needlessly with poor sizing data.

As airports start to adopt the Ozion platform they are following their own PRM passengers not on the phone with the provider’s team but more on their screen where they can see the full status of each one of their PRM passenger journeys’ status and the overall PRM situation at the airport. This is particularly true of the airline’s teams tasked with tracking their PRM passengers at their Hub (e.g. Air France at CDG).”

William Neece is scheduled to speak together with Vincent Jeandon, Project Manager at Aeroports de Paris, on March 16th in the Ageing Population and PRMs track at PTE2017.

Vintage Technology is Cute, Airport PRM Management is Critical

Vintage Technology is Cute, Airport PRM Management is Critical

Why Airports are choosing to upgrade to Ozion PRM Manager, the Benchmark in PRM Software

The PRM sector is now well engaged in its transformation from adolescence to adulthood. Proof of that maturity is nowhere more obvious than in the sector’s growing awareness of the  “PRM conundrum” – the fact that most airports strongly feel that when it comes to PRM, things are not working at all as they should.  More and more Airports and their Service Providers are reaching the point where they believe the time has come for a major upgrade in PRM Software Management. Airports believe the questions their provider’s PRM software should answer conclusively are not being answered and that the  operational performance levels they want to achieve are not being met. Here are typical questions many airports ask themselves:

• Do we properly understand the complexity and details of how our Airport PRM service is run? Unless we do, how can we expect to put out solid tenders, hope to supervise our PRM service properly or to improve it over time?

• Do we trust the data we are receiving on SLAs and operational KPIs? (not in the sense of honesty but in the sense that it is at best partial and our understanding is limited).

• Does our PRM application truly help our providers streamline their operations to increase quality of service and productivity at the same time, year after year?  Are we effectively able to mitigate the discrepancy between overall passenger traffic growth and PRM passenger growth? (PRM growth + 10% per year).

 The candid answer to these 3 typical questions by the majority of airports is: “No!”.

In this context, it is enlightening to understand the very different approach Ozion has taken to design its new benchmark PRM software solution. This approach is what enables it to deliver what other, older “vintage” applications adapted from ground-handling operations, are unable to deliver.

Deploying Ozion’s PRM Manager collaborative SaaS Solution in just 3 months will give an airport and its PRM service provider organization everything other airports can only dream of:

• Access to complete, reliable SLAs available in real time at the click of a button e.g. pick up times and compliance for all departure and arrival passengers pre-booked and not pre-booked.

• Ability for the provider, gate agents and airlines to track the detailed evidence-based progress of each passenger (with 10 to 25 time-stamped milestones such as the actual agent-passenger meet time) in real time or at a later date. This makes it easy to see where each passenger and agent is, to investigate any complaint and share the results by email with the airport and airlines on the spot.

• Allow airline check in staff to welcome PRM passengers and enter their details in the software via their cute browser; allow gate agents to see the exact whereabouts of remaining PRM Passengers and their ETA at the gate to decide on when to close the flight.

• Allow PRM providers to become much more productive and increase service levels simultaneously year on year. This can be done as early as the first year you use Ozion PRM Manager increasing productivity significantly, lowering staff costs in the process, and improving service levels. Much smarter overall allocation of jobs to agents plays one part. Another is having instant visibility on every situation as it unfolds making it at last possible to remedy intelligently on the spot to the many changes that constantly test PRM services.

• Enable PRM Providers to adapt to the many changes that constantly affect PRM operations at every airport. The gate number changes: the plane will in fact not be docking at the terminal, meaning the PRM passenger can no longer be reached by jet bridge and an ambulift will instead be needed to disembark them.  Or the SSR type turns out to be wrong, requiring more or different, resources to be taken well care of. The list of changes is endless. Now, for the first time, PRM dispatchers know a problem has occurred, where and why. Because dispatchers are informed of such changes in real time, the software can propose to the dispatcher the best case scenario to reschedule the job optimally from both a Service Level perspective and an economic perspective.  Last but not least, the software constantly recalculates everything: the resources available needed to address new jobs, the ETA of every job, the ETA of rescheduled jobs.

• The PRM operator no longer operates in a unrealistic world which predicated that every job that started would finish according to plan never meeting problems along the way. PRM Manager operates with total visibility in a world where things go wrong all the time owing to the many circumstances outside the PRM operator’s control but which they must address to perform.

• Last but not least, have instant access to extensive reports shared live with airlines.


 

Ozion is speaking at PTE – 2017 in Amsterdam on March 14-16:

William L. Neece, Director of Airport Solutions for Ozion will join Paris Airports in addressing the audience at PTE. In his presentation he will demystify the PRM conundrum by explaining why airports are not getting what they want from their providers in most of Europe and why Ozions’ new software makes such a difference, going over the differences in its approach and design that enable it to deliver what other, older “vintage” applications adapted from ground-handling operations, are unable to deliver.

William will be attending the entire PTE Conference in March. Send him an e-mail to connect at PTE or to meet on the phone before or after the show: wneece at ozion-airport.com


“The New PRM Service Offer Deployed at Paris Airport”
Thursday, March 16th @ 12:25pm
Part of the “Ageing Population & PRMs” track
Passenger Terminal Conference – PTE 2017
RAI Center, Amsterdam









For more information, to schedule a Demonstration or request Ozion evaluate your current PRM management system, please contact:

William L. Neece | Director of Airport Solutions
Ozion Airport Software
Europe : Paris Office
2, passage de la gare
92420 Vaucresson, France
Office:   +33 (0)1 47 01 32 75
Mobile:   +33 (0)6 52 21 32 60
eMail :   wneece at Ozion-Airport.com
www.Ozion-Airport.com

Paris CDG Airport Presents it’s Use of Ozion PRM Manager at PTE

Paris CDG Airport Presents it’s Use of Ozion PRM Manager at PTE

Paris CDG will present as part of the “Ageing Population & PRMs” Track:



The presentation will go in-depth into why Paris Airports made the strategic initiative of choosing the Ozion PRM Manager software solution while outsourcing PRM operations to 3 service providers at the same time. Describing the complexities of CDG connecting three service providers and in effect 3 airports in one: a large airport (Air France’s Hub in terminal 2), a medium-sized airport (Terminal 2’s ABCD satellites) and a smaller airport (Terminal 1).  Once completed the Airport was able to gain a complete view of all the providers across the entire airport and provide passengers with a seamless travel experience.

The presentation will also cover:
1.  A view into the why and how of the implementation
2. The post installation results including SLA reporting and the ability to improve PRM service all the time by interpreting the wealth of new KPI data



“The New PRM Service Offer Deployed at Paris Airport”
Thursday, March 16th @ 12:25pm
Part of the “Ageing Population & PRMs” track
Passenger Terminal Conference – PTE 2017
RAI Center, Amsterdam


William L. Neece, Director of Airport Solutions for Ozion will also address the audience at PTE. In his presentation he will demystify the PRM conundrum by explaining why airports are not getting what they want from their providers in most of Europe and why Ozions’ new software makes such a difference, going over the differences in its approach and design that enable it to deliver what other, older “vintage” applications adapted from ground-handling operations, are unable to deliver.

William will be attending the entire PTE Conference in March. Send him an e-mail to connect at PTE or to meet on the phone before or after the show: wneece at ozion-airport.com







For more information, to schedule a Demonstration or request Ozion evaluate your current PRM management system, please contact:

William L. Neece | Director of Airport Solutions
Ozion Airport Software
Europe : Paris Office
2, passage de la gare
92420 Vaucresson, France
Office:   +33 (0)1 47 01 32 75
Mobile:   +33 (0)6 52 21 32 60
eMail :   wneece at Ozion-Airport.com
www.Ozion-Airport.com

Ozion Hosts Ground-Breaking Airport PRM Conference at Paris CDG

Ozion Hosts Ground-Breaking Airport PRM Conference at Paris CDG

On November 9th Ozion will host the Airport PRM Conference at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The conference will be attended by professionals who oversee or run PRM services for airports and service providers who are looking to improve their PRM (1) operations by sharing their PRM challenges and solutions with their peers.

Paris CDG is an interesting case study: the airport took the strategic initiative of choosing the Ozion PRM Manager software solution while outsourcing PRM operations to 3 service providers at the same time. CDG is also special because it actually comprises 3 airports in one: a large airport (Air France’s Hub in terminal 2), a medium-sized airport (Terminal 2’s ABCD satellites) and a smaller airport (Terminal 1). Lastly, CDG has recently overseen what may be the largest implementation in the world of possibly the most complete and latest PRM-only Web enabled software solution to date.

The Conference will Address Three Questions 

  • What are the main PRM challenges for the primary parties involved: the airport (Passenger Services Director) and the provider (IT, Manager, Dispatchers and Agents)
  • What essential issues must a PRM application solve if it is to « tick the boxes » that really matter to PRM providers and the airport they serve
  • How well does the Ozion PRM Manager application overlap with the map of PRM operational needs

PRM Conference Overview

  • Presentation by the Paris CDG Airport head of Passenger Services in charge of PRM: «The challenges we face and why we decided to adopt Ozion PRM Manager»
  • Presentation by a PRM service provider at CDG: « How we use Ozion PRM Manager and to what extent does it cover our needs »
  • Highlights of the Ozion PRM Manager solution (15 minutes)
  • Lunch : interactive peer-to-peer workshops to discuss and list the main issues faced by PRM service providers and airports to agree on the focus of the forthcoming PRM Survey
  • Visit of Paris CDG PRM Dispatching Command Center
  • Cocktails : Of course !

About Ozion Airport Software

Ozion developed the Ozion PRM Manager SaaS application that Paris Aéroports (formerly ADP) chose to equip all the terminals at its two main Paris airports, Paris CDG and Orly. At Paris CDG, 3 different PRM providers covering different parts of the airport carry out just over a million PRM jobs a year.

Ozion only enters a new market to develop a powerful easy-to-use airport software if 6 criteria are met:

  • a large complex airport-related problem exists that can be solved by an application developed from scratch based on the interpretation of thorough client feedback
  • clients see a high value in an application that overcomes the complexity of the job they want to do
  • no application exists that addresses customer’s evolving set of needs and does so the way they want
  • opportunity to become market leader
  • the solution matters to Ozion’s international airport service provider and airport client base
  • obvious growth potential worldwide

Ozion also develops and sells the Ozion CheckPoint Manager SaaS application that is used by airports and their providers to:

  • accurately size their Passenger checkpoint (called « screening » in the USA) staffing needs
  • arbitrage with the airport in real time between reducing passenger queue times and adding extra staff
  • ensure every checkpoint operation is traceable and time-stamped while allowing the optimal use of available agents by using optimal dispatching

The venue

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Post Event

Participants will be given access to the PRM Conference web Forum on which they will find:

  • copies of the slides, notes, videos and minutes of the events of the day
  • the contact information of fellow attendees
  • access to the permanent PRM exchange forum where members can meet up, chat and exchange ideas regularly for free

Furthermore, the PRM Survey that will be carried out on the topics chosen by attendees as their list of priority concerns/interest and its results will be posted on the forum when it becomes public.

If you wish more information or to register for the November 9, PRM Paris CDG Conference, please contact William Neece at  wneece@ozion-airport.com or on + 33 (0) 1 47 01 07 06.

Reports on UK Airport PRM Performance Show Progress

Reports on UK Airport PRM Performance Show Progress

This year has seen the publication of two reports on the state of PRM services at UK airports: the CAA (British Civil Aviation Authority) published the « Accessible air travel: Airport Performance report 2015/2016 » while OCS, the PRM service provider familiar at many UK airports including Gatwick, released its « Airport Experiences » report on « How disabled people actually feel about the service they receive ».

Each report is a carefully researched take on the current state of affairs of PRM services in the UK. They show steady progress has been made while they highlight complementary ways of improving the situation for all concerned: PRM passengers, airlines and airports.

The OCS report was based on the views of 534 disabled people gathered over 2015. It can be found on www.challengingforchange.com. As a result, it powerfully projects what PRM Passengers actually feel about the service they have experienced at UK airports.

It highlights several facts that are not widely known: frequent PRM flyers tend to report steady progress in service quality over the years and confidence when travelling. Conversely, PRM passengers who travel rarely are often not aware of the correct booking process and show a « worryingly (high) lack of confidence in the PRM Service » when about to travel. Strikingly, many PRM passengers still don’t know that they must inform their airline 48h before departure.

The first priority for airlines, according to the report, is to get more passengers to pre-book assistance. Another priority it suggests is the need to educate staff to handle Electronic Mobility Aids without damaging them and to create clear guidelines on how to handle them with care. OCS makes 9 practical proposals to improve the PRM passenger experience at UK airports, from dealing with assistance dogs effectively to improving PRM passenger waiting areas as well as communicating with them more proactively during their journey inside the airport (e.g. by SMS to update them on their boarding time).

The CAA report, though it doesn’t so squarely take the perspective of PRM passengers, does provide interesting aggregate figures on their experience. Of the 2,7 Million PRM passengers who travelled in the UK in 2015, 85 % were satisfied (including 59 % « very satisfied ») while 15 % were less that satisfied. It makes the encouraging discovery that satisfaction levels have gone up by 10% over the ten years since Regulation EC 1107/2006 was introduced. This performance is all the more positive when one realizes that the number of PRM passengers went up by 40 % over the period and that crowded airports are a challenge to quality PRM services : the infrastructure isn’t growing anything as fast as the number of PRM Passengers, making the job of taking PRM pax to and from their aircraft more – not less – challenging.

The main initiative the CAA is backing to improve matters further is the adoption of its proposed regulatory PRM performance framework by a growing number of airports. The idea is to « get all UK airports to set, measure and report on their performance against a range of measures relevant to the assistance service.” The framework is supposed to help travelers understand what to expect, thereby reassuring them, and holding airports to account if the assistance level isn’t at an acceptable level.

The CAA has split 30 UK airports into four groups according to their PRM performance level: « Very good », « Good », « Taking steps » and « Poor ». The largest airports in the first category that includes ten airports, are Manchester and Newcastle. Gatwick, Stansted and Liverpool were included in the « Good » list which comprised 7 airports. The largest category, « Taking steps to improve performance », included 12 airports, of which Heathrow was the largest. The « Poor » category included one airport, Edinburgh, that has since improved quite significantly after several changes occurred: Omniserve took over from Amey in January while the airport raised the tax earmarked for PRM services from 18 pence (the lowest in the UK at the time) to 28 pence, which is the UK average.

Overall, it is clear that the fundamental movement in favor of continually improving PRM service levels begun with the introduction of groundbreaking EU regulation a decade ago has achieved a great deal. This is good news for PRM passengers who can travel much more easily and with growing confidence – provided they are informed. It shows the efforts made by airports, providers, airlines have been significant and made a sizeable impact.

The CAA’s article can be found on http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?appid=11&mode=detail&id=7499

One wonders, now that the « low hanging fruit » have been picked, what it will take to produce further gains in the number of very satisfied customers who account for just over half of the 2,7 million PRM passengers a year of the total (59 %). Better information and standardized PRM processes from airport to airport will buy further improvement. But making further large gains – and keeping them – in a market that, at current growth rates, stands to double every five years, will now depend on the large majority of airports raising their game to the high performance level set by a few. This will require putting into place modern PRM management systems based on comprehensive traceability, a solid real-time visibility on the aggregate PRM situation at the airport and optimal machine-assisted PRM job dispatching. The years ahead are sure to be exciting!

What Experienced Service Providers say They Expect from a PRM Application Today

What Experienced Service Providers say They Expect from a PRM Application Today

Where is the PRM application “grass the greenest” ? When EU regulation EC 1107 / 2006 came into effect 10 years ago, it effectively created the obligation for airports to guarantee passengers with reduced mobility (« PRM ») an acceptable level of service and care. At the time, no software application existed that had been designed expressly to manage the process of taking PRM passengers efficiently to and from their aircraft.

In the vast majority of cases, PRM operations are subcontracted through a tender by the airport to one or several service providers who are usually appointed for 5 years. In a few cases, it is the airport that runs the PRM process (Vienna, Athens and Frankfurt where the airport and Lufthansa formed a joint a venture for this purpose, are examples of this exception).

Service providers could choose from this set of solutions to manage their PRM operations:

  • Use Microsoft Excel or a very basic usually generic application plus the phone
  • Adapt an ERP-type application developed for another purpose (ground handling, rostering, etc.) by tailoring it to PRM
  • Develop their own in-house application (« make » as opposed to « buy »).

During the last decade, several things have changed:

  • The number of PRM passengers grew much faster than the number of airline passengers did (e.g. 40 % in the UK to 2,7 million). At several major airports, PRM numbers doubled or are expected to do so over just 5 years.
  • Airports and airlines discovered PRM could seriously disrupt airport operations by virtue of the fact that a plane can’t be cleaned before PRM passengers have been disembarked by authorized PRM personnel. Also, if PRM passengers are delayed getting to the plane, they may well delay it with all the attendant costs and operational knock-on effects this has on the arrival and departure of other planes.
  • A few airports began to organize themselves well to deliver efficient PRM services in terms of reliability, service levels and perceived passenger satisfaction.

Airports are now mostly awake to the fact that PRM operations that regularly fail to keep up are more than a mere nuisance – the equivalent of « throwing a spanner in the works » preventing the smooth running of their airport. The recent experience at Edinburgh before Omniserv took over and the airport accepted to spend more money on PRM (+ 55 % increase in the airport tax), is testimony to this awareness.

The above has created pressure for other airports to follow suit. Organizations that defend the rights of PRM passengers and public awareness have evolved to make the issue a test of airport’s commitment to quality.

When an airport has a few thousand PRM passengers a year and few transfer passengers, the situation is workable. When airports with above 10 million passengers a year typically have 100,000 to over a million PRM passengers a year, Excel or a basic application plus a phone obviously don’t suffice.

Today, seasoned PRM service providers now have considerable experience of what it requires to run a PRM show efficiently at a large airport and it is safe to say the sector (airports, airlines and providers) are reaching a level of maturity that is driving high and informed expectations from the PRM airport management solution they choose.

So what do PRM experienced professionals at service providers say they expect from an airport PRM Management solution?

When we talk to them, most experienced PRM managers agree on what they need. This is what they say they need with remarkable consistency:

  • To automatically receive all (99%) PRM job orders automatically inside their PRM application: Pal, Cal and all last-minute PRM show-ups that didn’t declare themselves to their airline without any manual entries or changes (no need to look at e-mail inboxes or to call up agents anymore).
  • See the complete list of PRM Jobs automatically decided by the application to be done by whom and when based on the optimal allocation of resources accordingly guaranteeing the leanest, most reliable job itineraries. Know the list of orders is automatically updated constantly to take into account changes such as gate changes, passenger no shows, etc.
  • Automatically allocate to agents the smartest job itinerary in an easy to understand format every time and earn their trust so that they voluntarily enter each time-stamp milestone on their PDA from the start to the end of their journey.
  • Get full time-stamp traceability of every event in practice:
    • to settle daily quality airport inquiries with conclusive evidence in a minute
    • bill reliably and automatically, immediately
    • analyze mistakes to continually improve the overall PRM process (create a virtuous cycle)
  • See in a second, 90% of all the information concerning one flight on one screen (no need to go to several screens to get all the information, especially during peak times. Seeing everything at a glance is what makes it possible to take instant informed decisions in a very fast changing environment (weather, gates changes, etc.)
  • Ability to create all important reports fast, in minutes instead of one or more hours. Complete reports showing all the necessary information(Billing, SSR Type, Wait Times, Pre-Notification, etc.)  giving the airport all it needs and allowing the provider to analyze the situation immediately.
  • A very fast system where everything can be done fast and reliably: large detailed up-to-date reports but also constantly refreshed PDAs and instant job list and detail updates
  • Simplicity, not complexity: software that everyone understands easily and people spontaneously want to use from agents, dispatchers, managers to airport Passenger Services Managers with obvious benefits such as:
    • The system is used (traceability is the result of all information being entered)
    • Onboarding is fast when adopting the system, the first time and when new people need to be trained
  • The right scope: software that has everything that people really need at their fingertips
  • A product that adds obvious value for a good but reasonable price and not an ERP type application that costs a fortune to buy, maintain and evolve.

The impression today is that experienced informed PRM professionals have little difficulty in agreeing on what they want.

It is also seems natural that the software vendor who can satisfy most of their expectations stands to prosper for another simple but powerful reason: the network effect.

PRM software evolves rapidly as its users give their software vendor feedback on what they need and how they need it. With the effective emergence of SaaS solutions, agile customer-centric vendors reinforce their advantage by continually improving their applications without waiting for major releases. That is because SaaS solutions can be continually improved online without users ever needing to install new software versions. The more clients, a trusted SaaS software vendor has, the better its product becomes for users, in a natural positive loop that strengthens user acceptance and product usefulness with every piece of passenger feedback.

Ozion’s creed is that good airport applications can only be made when they are designed closely with customers in order to do one thing very well and simply – and we don’t mean one but many clients. We invite you to compare your own list of hard legitimate expectations from a modern PRM application with Ozion’s solution in detail : we will happily walk you through the comparison using tangible evidence every step of the way : what the application does, how it does it using examples taken from the daily life of current active clients.

Please send us your feedback, comments and ideas and we will voice them in the next issue of the PRM Newsletter.

See the World’s most modern PRM Management Software in action on November 9th: visit Paris CDG’s PRM Command Centers!

See the World’s most modern PRM Management Software in action on November 9th: visit Paris CDG’s PRM Command Centers!

Visit Paris CDG airport’s PRM operations November 9th, to discover how ADP (now called Paris Aéroports as of July 1st) uses the Ozion PRM Manager SaaS solution to manage 1,1 million PRM pax/year.

Paris Aéroports, the operator serving 95 million passengers a year at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports, decided to take its already well regarded PRM service quality and operational performance to the next level by selecting possibly the most modern and agile PRM application today. The three service providers are all up and running on Ozion Airport’s PRM Manager software platform.

 

Schedule of the Paris Charles de Gaulle PRM Conference on November 9th, 2016

10:00 am: What challenges was Aéroports de Paris looking to address?

Presentations by the airport & by one of Paris CDG’s 3 current PRM Service Providers:

  • Managing 3 different PRM suppliers at CDG simultaneously:
    – one large & complex section (Air France hub with many transfers)
    – one medium-sized and one smaller section of the airport
  • Enabling operational reliability:
    – 100% automatic electronic entry for every PRM Pax including last-minute show-ups
    – automatic job itinerary breakdown into optimized journey milestones to track each job (“was it done completely and on time section by section?”)
    – 100% visibility of all PRM operations including availability status and location of every agent and Pax at all times
    – automatic SLA compliance measurement displayed on a real-time dashboard
  • Process optimization:
    – self-service wheelchairs + self-boarding + solo baggage autonomy + shuttle use
  • Automatic reliable invoicing determined by:
    – SLA compliance
    – complete jobs (only jobs for which all job milestones have been completed can be invoiced)
  • Upholding PRM service quality despite limited resources in relation to the unpredictable large activity spikes that characterize PRM services
  • Keeping PRM operation costs under control
  • Ongoing developments to be completed in 2016:
    – ibeacon installation and activation to track and optimize PRM operations
    – boarding pass scanning to offer an additional means of entering each PRM Pax into the system electronically without any manual entry to get all their details automatically
  • Q & A (Questions & Answers)

12:30 pm: Lunch & Networking

Ozion will introduce you to representatives from the airport and current Paris CDG PRM providers.

2:00 pm: Guided Visit of the dispatching desks of service providers serving CDG Airport

Ozion and the service providers will give you a guided tour of the PRM Manager Command Centers and they will share with you their experience managing the PRM process in the second largest airport in Europe.

4:30 pm: Drinks

 

The venue: Reception in the heart of Paris CDG Airport

 

Have questions?
Want to schedule an Online Demonstration?
Contact William Neece at +33 (0)1 47 010 706 or wneece@ozion-airport.com

 

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