Innovative KLM app allows for more efficient handling of KLM flights


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is now using a new and innovative app on the apron to make aircraft turnaround even more efficient. It is called Appron. The idea came from KLM’s Digital Studio, the business unit where two hundred people are working on innovations for a variety of KLM divisions.

It takes an average of an hour and a half to prepare incoming flights on international routes to continue onwards. Appron – the name is a combination of App and Apron is now being used to achieve faster and more efficient turnaround times. KLM’s Digital Studio collaborated with a team of designers and developers from IBM Services and Apple to create the app.


This innovative app makes a major contribution to helping an aircraft depart on time. It is a positive development for KLM passengers, for whom punctuality is, of course, important.

“Innovation is extremely important to KLM. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our operations and serve our customers even better. Through this collaboration between our Digital Studio, IBM Services, and Apple, we have succeeded in doing just this.”
Andrea Schmittmann, Vice President Apron Services KLM
“We worked closely with KLM to build an app for employees that innovates services, improves collaboration between employees, and increases operational efficiency. We are proud to be able to support KLM’s digital transformation.”
Lot Keijzer, Global Partner IBM iX

All data in one place

A wide variety of checks must be done before an aircraft can depart. Has the catering been loaded? Has the aircraft been fuelled? Are all of the passengers on board? And their luggage? Is the cargo on board? Before Appron existed, a team coordinator had to check numerous different IT systems. Now the app collects all the data in one place on a single iPad. At a glance, the team coordinator can see whether the aircraft is ready for takeoff or whether something or someone is still missing.

One of the app’s creators, KLM Shift Leader Patrick van Exel is enthusiastic about the innovation. “The system really offers a thorough, real-time overview of everything we need to know about the departing aircraft,” he says. “The app works accurately and quickly. I’m very happy with it.” IBM and Apple worked deliberately with the team coordinators to develop and implement the app. The coordinators are still working on new features.

More benefits

The app has even more advantages. If a passenger does not make the flight, the team coordinator gets an overview of the baggage container where the passenger’s baggage is located and that container will not be loaded. This results in less loss of time than having to remove the container later, when it becomes clear that the passenger has definitely missed the flight. The app also shows the layout of the cargo hold. This helps with the most efficient loading of new baggage.

From arrival to departure: how long does a 'turnaround' take? Intern Anne-Linde finds out: