Geneva Airport soars to new heights with ISO 55001


Following a long and intensive effort to improve the performance of its infrastructures, Geneva Airport achieved AFAQ ISO 55001 certification on 12 July, thereby enabling the airport to streamline its expenditure, strengthen its credentials and future-proof its facilities. Interview with Guy Marguet, Head of Projects and Methods Coordination within the Airport’s Infrastructure and Planning Division.

Why did the airport decide to launch a certification strategy?

We had already been pursuing a number of initiatives to improve our infrastructures, but the ISO 55001 voluntary standard tied us into an effective methodology that was shared by all the people concerned. I have got into the habit of summarizing the spirit of the voluntary standard as follows: “Generate value from our industrial assets with an agreed level of risk.” That not only refers to financial value, but also the value inherent in protecting the environment and ensuring safety. Those were our aims when we decided to launch a certification strategy.

What were the key steps in the process?

First of all, we had to create a list of all our assets, from the power plant through to the passenger boarding bridges, as well as the fire engines and the chainsaws used by the crews in charge of the green spaces! In all, we compiled an asset register with over 36,000 entries. Every asset has been described, we know exactly how many circuit breakers we have of any given type, when the last inspection was carried out… then we established a criticality level for each one. For example, a fire truck does not have the same criticality as a chainsaw! That is why we have described a specific procedure for each asset that is independent of the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, our vehicles drive over a concrete road surface and are constantly stopping and starting. They require a different maintenance schedule to the annual service recommended for vehicles used in towns or on motorways. Indicators allow us to continually fine-tune our maintenance policy.

How are you using the standard?

We now have an overview of the lifecycle for each asset, such as purchase, maintenance and replacement. It is essential for managing our activity in liaison with the financial departments. I will give you three examples. First of all, the CMMS system (computerized maintenance management system) provides information on the availability rate of the passenger boarding bridges, which exceeds 99.7%. Secondly, after undergoing a thorough review using the RCM process (Reliability Centered Maintenance, which is specified in the standard), the preventive maintenance contracts for our aircraft de-icing installations have been revised downwards by more than €100,000 while maintaining the same level of risk. Thirdly, the cost of transporting and scanning luggage at the check-in counter has been calculated to the nearest centime, while taking account of all investment, operating and maintenance expenses. This process involved a large number of employees and departments within the airport. We hired an asset manager to move the policy forward, ask the right questions and lead the working groups as part of a cross-functional approach.

What benefits are you expecting to see?

We will streamline our operating costs, but that is not what interests us the most. We are the first airport in continental Europe and the second Swiss company to be awarded this certification. We have reinforced our credentials among airlines that see ISO 55001 as solid additional evidence of an airport’s reliability in such areas as runway cleaning and inspection of passenger boarding bridges. It gives our hub a true competitive advantage when opening a new air route for example. Certification builds confidence among our agents (shops, customs, air traffic controllers, etc.) and also among the authorities.

Find out more on AFAQ ISO 55001  

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