How many dots can you count? The importance of data clarity

How many dots can you count? The importance of data clarity

Consider, and answer the following scenario: each dot represents a passenger.

Can you accurately determine the total number of passengers?

It’s likely that your initial estimate wasn’t correct, though it may have been close.

When we don’t have an accurate starting point, understanding basic information becomes challenging, and we’re forced to make estimates. Without a baseline, it becomes nearly impossible to further comprehend the operational environment:

  • How many passengers are accompanied by family members?
  • How many passengers require assistance with stair climbing?
  • How many of these passengers arrived at the airport without prior notification to the airline?

While these questions may seem trivial at first glance, considering the correlation between accurate data and potential operational improvements, even slight deviations in accuracy can have significant consequences.

  1. Introduction

The aviation industry continues to evolve with technological advancements such as Smart Booking Systems, Augmented Reality, Biometrics, Virtual Assistants, Assistive Devices, and IoT sensors. Despite these innovations, a persistent challenge remains: the lack of accurate data on passengers requiring assistance. In today’s digital age, where data accessibility should be a norm, it’s surprising to find that 35% of the operations we’ve engaged with this year rely on estimates. This raises questions about the effectiveness of a significant proportion of PRM operations and the quality of services they can provide.

Accurate data is the lifeblood of decision-making and accountability. Without high-quality, timely data, it becomes exceedingly challenging to design, monitor, and adjust effective processes. Many operations rely on estimates, often due to manual record keeping, which can lead to a mindset of “we’ve managed well for all these years without exact data, so why change?”.

However, our observations from numerous software deployments and service digitizations have made it clear that relying on estimates poses inherent risks. Without accurate passenger traffic data, airports and their respective PRM providers struggle to efficiently allocate resources, plan staffing levels, optimize workflows, and identify areas for improvement. Conversely, investing in accurate data collection and analysis systems empowers airports to make informed, data-driven decisions.

Among all clients that have taken even the smallest steps towards digitization with accurate passenger data reporting, none have ever reverted back to their previous manual methods and estimates. This highlights the transformative impact of accurate data on PRM operations and the associated benefits it brings.

In this article, we will explore some areas of PRM operations that can be enhanced by leveraging accurate data on passenger volumes and their assistance needs. By delving into these insights, we aim to underscore the importance of data-driven decision-making and encourage the adoption of accurate data collection and analysis systems for bettering PRM services.

Note: the total number of dots was 3404

3404 Passengers represented in an organised manner
3404 Passengers represented in an organised manner

1.    Enhancing Service Delivery and Efficiency

Accurate data provides airlines, service providers, and airports with real-time information on PRM passengers, enabling them to optimize service delivery and improve efficiency. For instance, if the data indicates that a specific flight will have a higher volume of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance, the service provider can ensure they have an adequate number of agents available. This proactive approach reduces waiting times, enhances service quality, and creates a positive experience for PRM passengers. Moreover, by knowing the exact number of passengers requiring different types of assistance, operations can ensure an adequate number of trained staff members and necessary equipment are available at the arrival gate.

Imagine: the initial data of seemingly randomised passenger data is now organised and reveals a clear and concise representation of a flight arriving with 34 passengers requiring assistance, the provider can prepare sufficiently


1.1 Example – Parking Type Adjustments

Operations can determine whether it would be more efficient to change the parking type for the aircraft. If the data reveals a high volume of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance or other forms of special assistance, operations may consider allocating a gate with a connected bridge instead of a remote stand. This change in parking location would facilitate a smoother and more direct transfer of passengers with certain assistance needs, eliminating the need for additional ground transportation and reducing overall transfer times.

Imagine: Data reveals an arrival flight at 18:45 has 62 passengers, 5 (orange) of whom are WHCS, stand planning now possess visibility and insights to make an informed decision:

2 Improving Passenger Experience

If data reveals a significant number of visually-impaired passengers traveling on a particular flight, the provider can ensure that staff members are trained to provide appropriate assistance. Additionally, airports can make arrangements for tactile guidance paths, accessible signage, and other measures to facilitate smooth navigation for visually-impaired passengers. This personalized approach fosters inclusivity, demonstrates a commitment to passenger satisfaction, and enhances the overall reputation of the airline and airport.

2.1 Example – Streamlining Security Processes

Accurate data can significantly enhance security processes. For example, if data indicates a high number of passengers with mobility needs at a specific time of the day, security personnel can be alerted in advance. This allows them to allocate resources and implement procedures that minimize wait times and streamline the screening process for PRM passengers. By proactively addressing their needs, airports can provide a more efficient and dignified security experience, reducing stress and enhancing overall satisfaction.

Imagine: Data reveals a high influx of departing passengers with reduced mobility will be assisted between 10:00-11:30, a dedicated security line could be opened during this period to ensure an efficient screening and process.

2.2 Example – Wheelchair Insights

Passengers who utilize electric mobility aids are advised by certain regulators to provide airlines with specific information in advance, such as the model, weight, and size of their equipment. By integrating this information with accurate data, airlines and airports can efficiently manage the needs of passengers with electric mobility aids. This includes coordinating the loading and stowing of the equipment, ensuring the availability of appropriate storage spaces, and providing any necessary assistance during the boarding and disembarkation processes.

3.Compliance with Regulation

Governments and regulatory bodies have established guidelines and regulations to ensure accessibility for PRM passengers. Accurate data allows airlines, service providers, and airports to effectively meet these standards.

3.1 Example -Planning for Emergency Evacuations

To ensure the safety and well-being of passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) during emergency evacuations, it is crucial for operations to have precise information regarding their numbers and specific assistance requirements. By obtaining this data, comprehensive evacuation plans can be developed to address the needs of PRM passengers effectively. This involves identifying designated evacuation routes, providing training to cabin crew on assisting PRM passengers during evacuations, and ensuring that evacuation equipment is easily accessible and correctly deployed. The accurate passenger data plays a vital role in ensuring the efficient and safe evacuation of all passengers, including those who require special assistance.

4.    Efficient Resource Allocation

Consistently analysing the data related to the demand for assistance by a particular airline or flight allows airports to consider permanently stationing additional staff members and wheelchairs in that area. This targeted resource allocation reduces response times, improves operational efficiency, and enhances the overall experience for PRM passengers.

4.1 Example – Ensuring Adequate Equipment and Facilities

If the data reveals a higher number of passengers requiring mobility assistance, operations can proactively ensure an adequate supply of wheelchairs, ramps, and accessible facilities throughout the airport. This ensures that PRM passengers can navigate the airport comfortably and safely, meeting the accessibility requirements set by regulatory bodies.

4.2 Dynamic Resource Allocation

Accurate data on passenger assistance needs enables operations to dynamically allocate resources based on real-time demand. By monitoring the data, operations can identify fluctuations in assistance requirements throughout the day or during peak periods. This information allows for agile resource allocation, such as deploying additional staff members or resources to areas experiencing high demand. By responding to the dynamic nature of passenger assistance needs, operations can maintain efficient service delivery, minimize waiting times, and optimize resource utilization.

4.3 Predictive Resource Planning


Accurate data on passenger assistance needs also supports predictive resource planning. By analyzing historical trends and patterns, operations can anticipate future demand for assistance services. This proactive approach enables operations to plan resources in advance, including adjusting staffing levels, scheduling maintenance or repairs for equipment, and ensuring sufficient supplies of essential resources. Predictive resource planning ensures that operations are well-prepared and can avoid potential resource shortages or service disruptions, ultimately leading to smoother operations and improved passenger experiences.

5.    Conclusion

Accurate data on passenger volumes and their assistance needs is essential for enhancing PRM operations. By adopting data-driven decision-making, airports, airlines, and service providers can unlock numerous benefits and improvements in various aspects of their operations. From enhancing service delivery and efficiency to improving the passenger experience and ensuring compliance with accessibility regulations, accurate data empowers organizations to make informed decisions and optimize their resources.

In an industry where accuracy and efficiency are paramount, relying on estimations and outdated manual methods is no longer sufficient. Embracing accurate data collection and analysis empowers organizations to optimize their PRM operations and deliver improved service.

To discuss how accurate data collection can be digitized in your PRM operation contact us here and we’ll endeavour to provide an analysis and feasibility study on a digital transition to help enhance your organization’s PRM operations.


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