How can you Turnaround a Failing Airport PRM Activity?

How can you Turnaround a Failing Airport PRM Activity?

This is a question we hear often « offline »: we will explore many of the answers at the November 10 Airport PRM Leadership Conference held at Paris CDG airport (see Conference registration link elsewhere in this newsletter). A workshop and a presentation will provide answers to this « burning » question to all those attending the conference.

PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) is the one fiendishly difficult service to get right at medium and large-sized airports across the Globe. Usually outsourced airport services such as aircraft handling, cleaning and baggage handling are relatively easy to get right. The underlying reason is simple: they are essentially predictable services whereas the PRM environment is structurally volatile, requiring a dedicated approach.

As this begins to be understood, consensus on best practices and on what constitute the the key success factors to get a PRM service to work reliably are beginning to appear. One of the goals of the upcoming airport Airport PRM Leadership Conference that will be held at Charles de Gaulle airport on November 10th, will be to aggregate and enrich the body of answers to this increasingly crucial question for airports, PRM providers and airlines.

Why is PRM structurally volatile?

First, let’s begin with a short primer on why the airport PRM environment is such a highly volatile service: much of what a PRM operator depends on is difficult or impossible to predict. This shifts the onus from planning perfectly to developing the effective ability to address surprises as they arise throughout the day, thereby turning a thoroughly unpredictable activity into a reliable one.

Poor pre-notifications, large and unpredictable ad-hoc passenger turnouts, large amplitude of departing passengers’ arrival times at the airport, last minute gate changes, incorrect initial SSR Passenger types, planes that often neither arrive or leave on time, irregular human productivity from one agent to another, erratic screening times, suspect baggage incidents, diverse PRM passenger behaviour (some passengers are happy to go to their gate without visiting duty free or the toilets, others not) … More than any other service, PRM operates in an environment with an exceptionally large range of variables upon which PRM operators depend to successfully deliver the service – but have little or no control over.

Compare this with a comparatively stable activity like ground-handling. In ground handing, the number of planes to turn around and the jobs to be done during a turnaround are so predictable as to seem to be cast in stone in comparison to PRM operations (same tasks, same task execution times … the only unknown is the plane arrival time!).

Denying the exceptional underlying volatility of PRM operating variables is possibly the main reason why this service has been a consistent headache for most airports to date. Know your enemy and don’t underestimate him. In PRM, the enemy is the exceptional volatility of key operating variables. To put things right after years of frustration, it would seem essential to make the right diagnostic as to why things haven’t worked as expected to date. From there, one can build on firm foundations. This is what Ozion offers.


How to make things work will be discussed during the PRM conference with attendees getting a copy of the full body of answers produced during the 10th of November workshops. Key PRM operational Key Success Factors included :

• Receiving messages and processing them so that orders are reliable, complete and well understood at the same time as duplicates are eliminated

• Pre-notification improvements through education and by applying less favourable (because slower) EU SLA to ad-hoc Pax

• Finding a way to generate a real-time picture of a complete PRM activity allowing the PRM operator to see everything easily and to track problems so as to work with those who created them to diminish their frequency

• Listening and working with experts on the subject representing PRM passengers point of view

• PRM applications that modelize PRM operations and make everything work well from bullet-proof message reception and transformation into reliable job orders to ultra-smart dispatching and complete, reliable activity visualisation and production of traceable data

• Real time collaboration between the provider, airlines, handlers and the airport

• Educating the airlines

• Helping providers implement these conditions to succeed

• Etc.

As often, getting PRM right begins with awareness of the challenges and then facing up to them by working to fit the pieces of the solution puzzle into place to manage the activity predictably to the benefit of all, from passengers to agents, airports to providers, airlines to the government agencies tasked with overseeing it.

Some major airports such as Paris CDG airports have cracked the PRM conundrum by addressing most of the problems in a seamless web of solutions. We can learn from them and others!



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

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