Highlights of the 3rd Annual “Airport PRM Leadership Conference”

Highlights of the 3rd Annual “Airport PRM Leadership Conference”

Over 50 leaders in Airport PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) from 15 countries came together in Paris to share the latest best-practices and innovations that are rapidly transforming the challenging field of global airport PRM Assistance. It was a joyful and intense sharing experience that brought together airport assistance stakeholders, from airports, passenger advocacy groups, assistance providers, airlines and civil aviation authorities.

The jam-packed agenda also included ample time for delegates to share and network.

It is impossible to share all that the speakers presented at the Airport PRM Leadership Conference, but here is our best attempt to give you a small view into the vision and direction that were shared. Collaboration is Key

Collaboration is Key

Roberto Castiglioni (Chair, Heathrow Access Advisory Group) reminded us that effective innovation can be “No Tech” citing the sunflower lanyards actively changing the awareness and behavior of those who come into contact with passengers with hidden disabilities.

Céline Jacobs, who heads PRM assistance at Charleroi Airport shared the successful journey the airport undertook over the last 3 years to bring the PRM activity under firm control in the face of exceptional passenger growth by deploying a mix of new software, practical realism and solid organization. PRM is no longer viewed at Charleroi as a permanent source of operational trouble, now it is a reliable and predictable, quality service.

Bonnie Hayes of American Airlines shared the inspiring goal of the Airline to be recognized as the leader in serving passengers with reduced mobility. The session showed clearly how identifying challenges and actively fostering change stands to turn American Airlines’ goal of being the preferred carrier for customers with disabilities into a reality.

James Fremantle of the UK Civil Aviation Authority reminded us of the dizzying growth in assisted passengers. The UK has seen a stunning 47% increase in PRM passenger growth between 2010 and 2017. James also explained how the CAA created an annual report ranking UK airports with over 150 000 PRM passenger a year, using “Reputational Regulation” to drive improved performance through increasingly detailed measurements.

Dee Thomas and Mark Hicks of Wilson James joined Bonnie Hayes and Roberto Castiglioni for a lively Panel discussion on PRM Growth. Examples of solutions discussed included industries working together, streamlining overall passenger flows, the importance of the recruitment process to select staff that have natural caring skills and concentrating on aircraft/airport design in order to better accommodate assisted passengers.

Laurel Van Horn of Open Doors explained how her organization is improving the quality of assistance service at airports in the USA through disability awareness training of airport and PRM personnel. Yummy Ozion

Dawn Huddleston of Portland Airport, shared with us how Portland PDX has been named Best Domestic Airport for the 6th year in a row for cleanliness, safety, customer service and accessibility. She explained how the airport has rooted its success in “living its values” in an uncompromising way – Leadership, Inclusion and service. Everything it seems has been done with assistance service in mind: guide dog training and animal relief stations, ubiquitous white paging phones to provide the information to blind passengers, recognition of employees who extend outstanding service to PRM passenger, entertainment accessibility such as an inclusive movie theater, etc. WHILL on Display

Satoshi Sugie, CEO of WHILL, designer of innovative mobility devices called Electric Vehicles (“EV”s) that replace most wheelchairs, explained how attractive self-driving EVs can overcome several big common headaches faced by all airports: the labor cost of recovering lost or stolen chairs, preventing their theft and effectively reducing the number of passengers who request special assistance when all they need is the former much lighter “MAAS” service.

Alexandre Desch, a renowned Change Management expert, reminded us all that even highly effective new technology, software and new processes require a mindset reset among special assistance staff and management to take hold over time and yield their promised benefits.

Last but certainly not least, William L. Neece, Director of Ozion’s airport solutions, shared how PRM service performance outcomes have been transformed and now serve as best practices for airport PRM service delivery. William showed how this is not just being brought about by a new generation of software but also by the shift in mindset required to generate successful operational outcomes. In addition, he stressed how using live data can secure not just every passenger journey but also safeguard airports’ overall daily operations as well as the highest quality SLA’s.

It was truly an event for the record books and we thank all of the wonderful presenters and Airport PRM Leaders who attended.

Now the planning for the 4th Annual Airport PRM Leadership Conference held in November 2019, begins: stay tuned…

William NEECE

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