Helping airport efficiency take off
Managing complex interactions and infrastructure at Palermo Airport with IBM Maximo
An aerial view of an airport

Falcone Borsellino Airport, Palermo, is a busy regional hub in Italy, serving more than eight million passengers a year. ENAC, Italian Civil Aviation Authority, has entrusted the management of the airport to GES.A.P., which is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and systems in perfect efficiency as well as providing for the construction of new ones as dictated by the growth in passenger traffic.

GES.A.P. has therefore evaluated the most suitable tools to optimize the management of this complex and diversified airport infrastructure and to reduce costs, while fully maintaining the operational safety and efficiency of the infrastructure and systems.

In common with all airlines and airport operators, GES.A.P. is also committed to sustainable operations and reduced carbon footprint. Every efficiency gain in terms of maintenance processes and asset lifecycle management helps to improve total sustainability by maximizing infrastructure performance.

To add to the mix, Palermo Airport is extending its main terminal, which includes new passenger services such as parking, food and shopping.

“We constantly strive to enhance our operational standards, improve our sustainability performance, and meet our compliance and safety objectives,” says Salvatore Libertino, Safety Manager at GES.A.P. “We realized that paper-based processes did not provide the right level of detail and were unable to provide the insights that would help us tune our capabilities.”

For example, many of the airport’s teams ran their own management systems. One team even relied on typed and handwritten reports. Extracting meaningful data to meet audit and compliance requirements took too long, and manually created reports in spreadsheets often contained transcription errors. When source data changed, it was not always possible to ensure that all the affected reports had been updated, generating potential re-work for the team that absorbed significant time and resources.

“Another challenge was the resistance we encountered to changing processes that had been established for many years,” says Vito Vitale, ICT Operations, GES.A.P. “People naturally avoid change, but it was time for the airport to move forward. With digital management, we could meet our efficiency, cost and sustainability objectives, as long as we carried the staff with us to ensure we maximized the impact on productivity.”

19% reduction in contact center handling time can now identify and resolve issues faster. 10% decrease in maintenance interventions freeing up resources to dedicate to this task.
Maximo provides us with much greater control over safety-related processes. By being able to identify risks and resources, we have been able to reduce maintenance interventions by 10%. Salvatore Libertino Safety Manager GES.A.P.
Pursuing growth and sustainability

GES.A.P. engaged ELMI, an IBM Business Partner that specializes in facilities management and related business process automation technologies. GES.A.P. looked for possible solutions, starting with open-source software.

“We soon concluded that we did not have sufficient resources to develop and support open-source software, or to customize it sufficiently,” says Vitale. “We surveyed the marketing and IBM Maximo immediately stood out as the best solution to mee tour needs, so we started working with ELMI.”

GES.A.P. and ELMI created a step-by-step implementation plan that deployed IBM® Maximo® Asset Management to multiple departments in turn. Ultimately, the team aims to manage all airport operations using IBM Maximo, enabling a single, unified digital information resource for assets, infrastructure, safety, sustainability and more.

“For example, the safety management team carries out regular audits, and the audit results could be useful for other departments to confirm status for compliance reasons,” explains Libertino. “We would like to share appropriate information automatically, such as course attendance, qualifications, driving licenses, and more, which would help reduce duplication and improve our resource flexibility.”

Assets and infrastructure condition data is already being migrated to and stored in IBM Maximo, replacing spreadsheets and paper documents. Previously, when colleagues in the flight movements team noted an equipment maintenance issue, they sent a physical document to the infrastructure team. With IBM Maximo, defects are recorded centrally, with a full reporting audit trail from initial logging to final resolution.

“If something as simple as a switch gets broken and repaired, with IBM Maximo we know the status in real time and can trigger a stock replacement so that we don’t find ourselves unprepared next time,” comments Libertino. “The reports generated by Maximo allow us to have clear status visibility, from warehouse stock to our service response times, helping us to improve our efficiency and enhance the quality of our services.”

Maximo solutions help us manage our operations more effectively, cut our costs and reduce our carbon emissions by running more efficiently, and we are confident we are best-placed for our future expansion. Vito Vitale ICT Operations GES.A.P.
Safety, performance and sustainability soars

As GES.A.P. rolls out IBM Maximo to each department, Palermo Airport’s operations are gaining the benefits of integrated digital workflows, from safety management to regulatory compliance.

“Though the precise details are confidential, we are delighted to report that our emergency management procedures based on Maximo have been highly praised by experts,” remarks Libertino. “Maximo provides us with much greater control over safety-related processes. By being able to identify risks and resources, we have been able to reduce maintenance interventions by 10%.”

From scheduled maintenance of facilities, vehicles, lighting, runways, elevators and much more, introducing Maximo solutions is helping GES.A.P. to increase operational efficiency at Palermo Airport.

“Our objective is to reduce our resolution response times by at least 10%, as well as cutting the time it takes to produce reports and analytics of status,” says Libertino. “This includes the ability to review the economics and cost-effectiveness of our maintenance activities, as we can now analyze resource costs and whether it makes more sense to use an external contractor.”

As the solution demonstrates its advantages, GES.A.P. and airport employees are adapting to the new solution and taking advantage of its capabilities. The team registers all specialized staff training on IBM Maximo, storing course completions and certifications, which enables all departments to invest effectively in their people.

“The collaboration between GES.A.P., ELMI and IBM helps Palermo Airport to optimize its services and ensure we have state-of-the-art infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of a growing international air hub,” concludes Vitale. “Maximo solutions help us manage our operations more effectively, cut our costs and reduce our carbon emissions by running more efficiently, and we are confident we are best-placed for our future expansion.”

Aeroporto Di Palermo GESAP logo
About GES.A.P.

Established in 1985, GES.A.P. (link resides outside of manages Falcone Borsellino Airport, Palermo, Italy, responsible for activities such as public information, security, surveillance, and commerce. Air-side activities include flight infrastructure, runways, taxiways, and aprons. GES.A.P. is owned by the Regional Province of Palermo, the Comune of Palermo, the Chamber of Commerce, the Comune of Cinisi, and other partners.

ELMI logo
About ELMI

ELMI (link resides outside of, an IBM Business Partner for more than 30 years, offers advice and consultancy focusing on infrastructure and facilities management, digital workflows, system integration and process automation. Based in Palermo, Italy, ELMI delivers solutions for asset management, ESG reporting, AI and analytics, cybersecurity, document management, ERP, infrastructure and more.

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