Open-access content 25th October 2010
By finding an affordable, improved technology to manage a Passengers Mobility System at Luton airport, Mitie has helped to cut costs and minimise exposure to risk.
By Natalie Li
28 October 2010
Creating an innovative and reliable solution to assist passengers with reduced mobility has seen a raft of benefits to clients, users and customers at London Luton Airport.
On 26 July 2008 EU legislation stated that all European airports must offer a free assistance service for their passengers, and like other airports, Luton operates this service to meet the needs of passengers with reduced mobility. At the beginning of 2010, Mitie, the fm outsourcing company, was awarded the contract to provide a Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) service for London Luton Airport Operations. The service offers passengers with reduced mobility a wheelchair and assistance service from the moment they arrive at the airport and board the aircraft and vice versa and must be as smooth as it possibly can be.
London Luton is the UK’s fifth largest passenger airport and saw more than 9.2m passengers passing through in 2009. In consultation with the client, Mitie quickly realised an opportunity existed to significantly improve efficiency, accountability and reduce costs through the use of its new and improved VisionFM PRM system.
The existing systems at the airport offered scope for improvement and Mitie set out to work on finding a solution to improve the model. With the existing manual system each request saw a paper docket completed and manually updated by a passenger service agent. At a later date this information was manually fed into Excel spreadsheets creating duplication and delays in the availability of reporting information. Requests for information meant reviewing hundreds of paper records – both time consuming and, if not found, resulting in fines from the airlines.
Developing a completely new system from scratch could not be justified in terms of cost and time to deploy; also finding an off-the-shelf system that was suitable for the airports’ needs was tricky. In discussion with its strategic partners, Mitie was able to fast track a bespoke solution using existing core technologies. The business solutions function within Mitie, which solely provides customer facing IT solutions, had already used this approach to deliver answers to a number client issues, so possessed the expertise to deliver the project end to end.
In with the new
A centralised data system offering real-time information to facilitate quicker response times and deal with the changeability of the airport environment was core to the requirement. Working with Serversys, a company that Mitie has been using since 2004, they were able to develop a new model in just under eight weeks – totally bespoke to London Luton Airport. As the solution was based on tried and tested technologies it allowed for aggressive deployment with reduced risks. Mitie was able to build the new system at the fraction of the cost it would take to develop a solution from scratch. The new system is web based front end with for maximum flexibility.
PRM requests are fed automatically through the VisionFM PRM system and are monitored by a supervisor on real-time screens and allocated to available passenger service agents via their PDAs. The information they receive contains all necessary information including the type of assistance required, passenger name and flight information.
The new system has made a marked difference with an improvement in PRM request capture; greater efficiency and a significant reduction in risk of fines.
Mark Hazelwood, customer solutions director for Mitie’s FM division, commented: “The solution at London Luton Airport provided benefits for the client as well as an enhanced service for the airport’s customers using the PRM service from Mitie. This demonstrates Mitie’s business solutions function working closely with its customer to provide an outcome that offers real business benefit. This model has been hugely successful for a number of our customers and we intend to continue to work in away that ensures that our IT offering truly delivers on the ground.”
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