Of the 27 million or so passengers who annually pass through Palma airport, some 145,000 require assistance because of reduced mobility, the great majority of them being British and German senior citizens.
Carlos del Rio is the head of the unit for passengers with reduced mobility (PMR). He explains that assistance is not just given to people who have issues with their movement but also to the visually and hearing impaired and passengers who may be suffering from the likes of Alzheimer's. There is therefore a range of needs which is covered, but most of these needs apply to senior citizens.
The PMR service doesn't cost anything, and it normally applies from the time that someone checks in. Del Rio notes, though, that it can be arranged before check-in. A member of the PMR staff takes a passenger through controls and can also help the passenger onto the plane if necessary. At arrivals, the service can be used for taking passengers to transfer buses or other forms of onward transport.
Del Rio adds that it is important that passengers give advance notice of their requirements so that the service can function as well as possible. The airports authority Aena says that it wishes to treat passengers with mobility needs "as though they are part of the family". "It is very important for us that they feel well cared for."
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