COVID-19: The road to recovery: Airport accessible services survey

Guest Author by Guest Author | Jun 11, 2020

Written by William L. Neece, Director of Airport Solutions, Ozion

Following the abrupt interruption to PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) services, aviation stakeholders must now shift focus from shutdown to resumption. The extent of COVID-19’s effect on PRM traffic and operations varies from country to country, region to region, however the current challenge is universal.

While an effective restart of PRM services cannot benefit from a global solution  current strategic thinking from industry peers can only but empower stakeholders with the knowledge to assist necessary decisions as air travel will steadily return.

PRM stakeholders are being asked to participate in an Airport Accessible Services Survey with a collaborative mindset. Through sharing quantitative and qualitative insight participants are contributing towards a source of comparable results.  It is hoped that by understanding the diversity of opinions and approaches participants will find value in the survey outcome to build a sustainable solution towards relaunching PRM services in an informed, safe, and profitable manner.

Operations are starting with minimal resources

Early survey responses indicate the majority (>50%) of PRM services have maintained 25% of their workforce operational during the outbreak, However, 22% of respondents have indicated a complete operational closure with a 100% of staff reduction. At present, the majority of PRM stakeholders are preparing for a 6-month recovery period. 60% of participating airports seem in agreement with this timescale while only 30% of service providers anticipate a 6-month recovery period. The service providers anticipate a longer recovery time.

Shared solutions

In preparation for resuming service, participants are sharing the key challenges and their means of implementation at their respective airports. Key challenges forwarded to date include:

  • The need and means of protecting employees and passengers
  • A means of managing resource allocations in a cost cutting environment
  • Implementing physical distancing throughout the airport in an operationally feasible manner

Key practices

  • Disinfecting all equipment PRMs encounter including: ambulifts, minibuses, wheelchairs
  • The provision of protective disinfecting kits to every staff member
  • New protective uniforms for staff
  • A division of on-duty staff per terminal and gate.

While physical distancing threatens operational efficiency, survey participants are demonstrating a clear need to find balance between performance and safety. Examples of actions and initiatives shared include:

  • Publishing leaflets with key safety information for passengers
  • Public announcements about the measures taken at the airport
  • Enforcement of physical distancing of passengers and staff
  • Installation of protective shields at each check-in desk
  • Keeping greeters out of the public area
  • Closing of business lounges, duty free shops and cafeterias
  • Daily disinfection by specialized cleaning companies

Who is participating and sharing their insight?

Survey responses are being collected from those with an active interest in passengers with reduced mobility, including:  PRM Managers, Head of Terminal and Passenger Operations, Airport Operations, Directors, Terminals PRM Process Managers, Head of Terminal Services, Quality Managers, Head of Passenger Experience managers, Operations Managers (PRM), Senior Managers of Guest Experience,  Customer Service Officer, Accessibility Managers, Contract and Operations Managers, and Manager Customer Relations.

Now more than ever, those in the airport service delivery for passengers with reduced mobility need to come together and share knowledge with one another. Only by sharing best practices and finding solutions can the industry prevail in what is the greatest re-igniting of passenger air travel in history.

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William L. Neece is the Director of Airport Solutions for Ozion and also the Conference Director of the annual Airport PRM Leadership Conference. William has a culmination of more than 20 years of executive leadership. An active listener, William strives to understand all the stakeholder’s needs in order to ensure mutual success. In addition to authoring thought provoking content around the management of services for passengers with reduced mobility in the airport environment, William is also recognized as an expert speaker on the subject matter.


The article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

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