A cloud of uncertainty remains among PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) stakeholders. While most lean towards a gradual resumption of PRM travel, an immediate global return to pre-COVID-19 passenger volumes remain overly optimistic. Results from our recent Covid-19 PRM Survey suggested a six to twelve-month recovery period, although an eighteen to twenty-four-month period for total recovery isn’t beyond plausible expectation.
PRM services must now transition their focus from commercial survival to the restoration of operational services in a COVID-19 environment that presents disruptive challenges, unseen in scale since the immediate transformation of air travel following 9/11. Some alterations in policies and processes will be enforced by external bodies, others will be introduced by airports and service providers themselves who proactively re-write their own best practice policies to protect staff and nurture a safe environment and travel experience for those considered high-risk passengers (PRMs).
Here we explore initiatives and configurations of PRM Software Management Systems that can help passengers requiring assistance, service providers, airlines and airports as we begin to increase our passenger numbers.
1.The ever-increasing need to monitor the passenger journey in real-time
Two distinct approaches to PRM Software development are currently integrated into airport PRM services whereby passenger volume warrants the integration of such a tool, these two software approaches can be defined as:
- Agent focused software that assigns jobs and tasks to agents
- Passenger focused software that assigns passenger(s) to agent(s) with real-time monitoring and tracing
The scope of this article is based on the latter as it is the only way to secure each passenger, manage the service levels and secure the overall airport on-time performance.
Airports and service providers continue to transition and realign their focus from an agent’s job to the passenger journey, the benefits of empowering an ability to manage and track a passenger’s journey in real time is achieved through milestoning (automatic via beacons, geo-fencing, etc.), this secures the airport operation and on time performance. It is a fundamental concept that provides the versatility needed for a system to be adapted in the COVID-19 environment.
2.Incorporating additional checkpoints into the passenger’s journey
Air travel is likely to see the introduction of more stringent measures imposed on all passengers. At the forefront of discussion is the introduction of temperature testing, electronic health declarations, thermal scanners and testing kits on departure.
At the time of writing officials hadn’t yet determined at which point in the security screening process possible health screening would occur, however, the impact of this process presents a possible emerging need for support services to incorporate this as part of the PRMs journey through milestoning in the PRM management software. Given the possible ramifications of screening failure, the operational procedures must be understood before system integration.
How to incorporate additional actions into the PRM Management System
Incorporating new milestones in the system should be a simple process and achieved remotely. Users must, fundamentally map how the process and potential deviations of passenger journey may unfold. Once understood, each stage can be incorporated into the PRM system to ensure control, traceability of both passenger and agent.