The app was designed by Apple-IBM. I think the best thing about this project is the user acceptance. They see it as their tool, and they love it.

Mark Bovenkerk, Manager of Digitizing, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Business Challenge

Ramp officers on the airport apron manage several, interconnected activities while KLM planes are at the gate. Multiple devices and applications meant to streamline these activities actually impaired the coordinators’ activities when wifi failed or apps crashed. KLM’s challenge was to help the apron crew access the information they needed easily and all in one place.


KLM knew that its ramp officers and coordinators responsible for airplane turnaround at the gate shouldn’t be trying to manage apps or wifi connections; they needed to focus on their job. KLM invited several of these ground crew to participate in a three-day IBM Design Thinking Workshop with IBM Garage consultants. Together with IBM and Apple, KLM created its APPron mobile app — which runs on hardened Apple iPads — its answer to bringing airline, cargo, operations and baggage data together. The app puts the coordinators in control of turnarounds. They have the information they need when they need it and they can steer the whole operation with greater punctuality and precision.

Solution Category

  • Other
    • IBM Cloud Garage
    • IBM-Apple partnership