Voted winners of the Airport Accessibility Award at the 5th Annual PRM Leadership Conference in 2020, Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport’s finely balanced approach to PRM with its humanistic approach and technological innovation proved favourable among voters composed of PRM stakeholders from 54 countries.
Since winning the award, travel conditions have been precarious. William Neece, Director of Airports at Ozion Airport Software and Roberto Castiglioni, accessible air travel Evangelist and Founder of Reduced Mobility Rights Limited, both maintained a strong desire to deliver the award in person. That opportunity arrived on 13th July 2021 as they visited and gave the award to the PRM team.
During the 2020 conference we had many entries for the accessibility award and Roberto Castiglioni chaired the event.
Showcasing cutting edge evolutions and approaches to assisted services including; video-help phones, sign language support, special attention paid to autistic passengers, and a recently opened accessible train service to the city centre. Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport has made significant strides in delivering an exceptional and pleasurable service to the 44,000 passengers requiring assistance who passed through the airport in 2019.
While 2020-2021 has proven a challenging year for the industry as a whole, a remarkable recovery is underway at Bologna Airport. PRM traffic has regained momentum whereby 110-120 assisted passengers currently pass through the airport on a daily basis, representing 50-60% of pre-covid PRM traffic.
Process and Quality Control Manager Claudia Castagnoli attributes the recovery in PRM traffic to several factors; “medical tourism and essential travel have been instrumental, Bologna is home to Policlinico Sant’Orsola-Malpighi, Italy’s largest hospital (in terms of beds) and 3 other public hospitals”.
Aside from medical and essential travel, Claudia expanded “recovery is also attributed to the fact that 95% of the airport’s traffic is European and point-to-point travel, although we do have transfers, we are not as affected as others.
Reflecting back over the COVID period, Nazareno Ventola, CEO explained “even during these testing times the airport has maintained a goal of delivering exceptional passenger experience, while whole procedures underwent change during this COVID period, we have continued to care for our passengers, not only that but we’ve also taken care of our staff, their safety throughout this period has remained paramount”.
Solidarity and adaptation have been fundamental during these times and was a message firmly expressed by Nazareno “it’s been a key lesson, to help us in recovery, we now know the operational future won’t be like before, we need to build on this experience, if we build on our learnings, we will become stronger and better. The humanization of our PRM service has always been in our DNA and this is now stronger than ever”.
A sentiment echoed by PRM operations manager Danilo Facchini “we must continue to take care of the people; the human aspect of this service has great importance – this is the main characteristic of our service and ethos”.
Bologna Airports fine balance of innovation and soft skills was summarised by Nazareno’s closing remarks “technology will become more important and involved in passenger service with time, but the need for balance between technology and that human touch will become more important as we progress”.
Chair of Awards Roberto Castiglioni is currently accepting nominations for the 2nd Annual Awards. Nominated Airports and Services will be showcased and voted on during the 6th Annual PRM Leadership Conference later this year. All Airports wishing to be nominated are asked to send their request to email@example.com