The company Aeroporti di Roma (ADR S.p.A.) manages the two airports of Rome, Leonardo da Vinci in Fiumicino and G.B. Pastine in Ciampino. The main Roman hub, Leonardo da Vinci airport, serves carriers operating flights to domestic, international and intercontinental destinations. Air traffic increases every year and, in 2012, the airport hosted over 37 million passengers going to hundreds of destinations worldwide.
ADR Assistance was created by the company in 2008 to help mobility-impaired passengers get around in the extensive Leonardo da Vinci airport. People that may be perfectly capable of moving autonomously in their usual everyday surroundings, but that can experience problems in unfamiliar complex environments, such as airports with several check-in desks, gates, security checks, etc. can use this service.
The number of passengers that request ADR Assistance has risen at a rapid rate. Approximately 280,000 people used this service in 2011, increasing to 295,000 in 2012. Records show that up to 200 passengers per hour may require assistance and up to 1,500 in a day.
The request for assistance must be made directly to the airline at least 48 hours before the flight departure so the airline can transmit all the information to the airport. The passenger specifies whether he/she only has problems walking the long distances between one gate and another or if he/she also encounters difficulty walking up and down the stairs and moving around in general. ADR uses this information to determine the appropriate type of assistance for each passenger.
In the case of flight transfers, which make up about 50% of requests, the ADR Assistance operator meets the passenger at the arrival gate and accompanies the person through all the security checks to the following flight using the appropriate means of transportation according to the individual passenger needs. Until recently, the passenger's name and the time of the connecting flight were written on a piece of paper, as well as the time each security check point was passed. This helped keep track of the entire transfer time. However, managing everything on paper became complicated when several people would arrive on different flights at the same time. All the passenger and flight information needed to be registered quickly in order to make sure everyone arrived at their connecting flights on time. There were also the transfer times to take into consideration for each passenger. The process created confusion and made handling the flow of passenger traffic very difficult.
ADR wanted to reduce time taken to complete this process and enhance efficiency, so the company decided to start using boarding passes for tracking passenger movement. Dedicated work stations were created at specific points in the airport that included a computer, a Magellan® 3200VSi on-counter scanner and special software.
The operator now brings the passenger requiring assistance directly to one of these workstations and scans the boarding pass using the Magellan 3200VSi on-counter scanner. The software immediately identifies the passenger in the list of those who requested assistance and indicates the time of the next flight, the connecting flight gate, the transfer time, the path to take and any particular notes regarding specific passenger needs. Since the computer is connected to the airport network, any updates regarding this information are made in real time.
This system keeps track of the passenger's position at all times, allowing the operators at the connecting flight gate to know when the passenger will arrive. The gate operator simply uses the search function provided by the software to see when the passenger passes through the various security check points and to determine the individual's current position.
The new system using the Magellan 3200VSi on-counter scanner simplifies the ADR Assistance process considerably. Operators are more organized, increasing efficiency of passenger transfer from one flight to the next. Passengers waiting to be transferred to their next flights relax because they see the situation is under control. Airport traffic in this area also seems to have decreased because lines practically don't exist anymore. Operators call the passengers in order of departure time and board them on the appropriate means of transport right away. Then, they are off to their connecting flight!