Swissport digital takes off with Ibexa


Author Photo
Markus Saalwächter
Ibexa Practise Lead

Swissport digital takes off with Ibexa

Swissport’s technology partner Comwrap Reply recommended Ibexa DXP as the right platform for this complex and content-heavy project. While taking note of the recommendation, the company also looked at various alternatives as part of its standard procurement policy.

“Ibexa and Comwrap Reply immediately gave us the confidence that we would be able to position Swissport in the digital sphere to what it is in real life: The world's preferred ground services partner for airlines,” says Christoph Meier, Head of Group Communications & Brand Management at Swissport. “And the project outcome proved us to be right. We now have a flexible, potent solution, which at the same time is perhaps not as heavy and overbred as certain other traditional and older systems.” 

Another advantage was that Ibexa DXP could be deployed both on-premise, as was Swissport’s original intention, and on the cloud as was its final choice. Ibexa Platinum Partner comwrap developed the site on Ibexa DXP 3.0 before its release. The result is that Swissport relaunched its site on up-to-date Ibexa technology, and sidestepped the disruptions of a medium-term migration.


Communicating the fascinating world of Swissport

“A lot of people come into contact with us without knowing it,” says Christoph Meier, Head of Group Communications & Brand Management at Swissport. “Before the pandemic, Swissport provided world-class ground services to over 265 million airline passengers at hundreds of airports on all six continents.”

This is not the largest part of the business. “The other Swissport business unit is air cargo,” Meier adds, “where we operate over 100 air cargo centers, and move a total of almost 5 million tons of cargo from the trucks to the airplanes or vice-versa, including all the value-added [activities] such as customs clearance.”

The company also offers lounge hospitality at some 60 Aspire airport lounges, and executive aviation services. 

 “This gives you an idea of the fascinating world of Swissport and the broad portfolio of services across our network which, before the relaunch, we did not communicate very effectively,” says Meier. 

Christoph Meier
Christoph Meier

Head of Group Communications & Brand Management Swissport

We are impressed by how easy it is for users across the globe edit content and to create new pages for different purposes based on the existing Page Builder blocks. We are not dependent of developers but can rely on ourselves in the daily operation. That way we can react very fast to new challenges and requirements, for example when we need additional pages or even a microsite.


Many of the Swissport markets also operated distinct sites on a multitude of platforms. Investor and media information was poorly integrated with the main corporate Swissport site.

“It felt like we were stuck in the early 2000s, certainly before the digital world moved to mobile first,” says Meier. “We needed a technical relaunch for our digital presence and a brand refresh that took us to 2020.”

This undertaking was given the green light in 2019, on the eve of the pandemic.


Catering for diverse expectations of external and internal stakeholders

Swissport then looked for a technical partner and DXP solution that would not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. The new corporate global website had to cater to the diverse expectations of Swissport's many external and internal stakeholder universe – our airline customers, their passengers, the freight operators, forwarders, as well as potential employees, the media and the general public of course – and across all the geographies. And the clearly stated goal was to achieve this all in a user-friendly, entertaining, fluid and responsive way. 

The company organized a beauty parade for alternative DXP platforms. “We looked at various possible partners and solutions in a very orderly selection process,” says Meier. “Ibexa and Comwrap Reply immediately gave us the confidence that we would be able to position Swissport in the digital sphere to what it is in real life: The world's preferred ground services partner for airlines. And the project outcome proved us to be right. We now have a flexible, potent solution, which at the same time is perhaps not as heavy and overbred as certain other traditional and older systems.”

The Ibexa DXP technology was implemented by comwrap, a leading German digital agency and Ibexa Platinum Partner.

“By far the biggest challenge was the complexity of the Swissport network,” says Markus Saalwächter, Project Lead and Principal Project Manager at comwrap. “Before the migration to Ibexa DXP, this information was just a list of airports on a TYPO3 website. It was not user-friendly to say the least and information was often outdated too.”


New news and media center and investor portal

The new site makes the data far more approachable. A world map indicates the number of airports Swissport is active at in different regions: 47 in Western Europe, six in South Africa. Clicking on Durban, we see two custom content objects representing “passenger services” and “ramp handling”.

“We use these content objects in the backend too,” says Saalwächter. “The tree structure is extensive of course and the icons make it easier for editors to find their way around this long list.”

For each service at each airport, the site provides detailed contact information. In the case of Swissport passenger services in Durban, South Africa, for example, we get the name and contact information of the commercial manager, the operations manager, the acting chief operations officer, and the head of HR. 

“This is an incredible resource for Swissport's customers with thousands of details at your fingertips,” Saalwächter says. “Naturally, everything can be filtered according to region/ country and service, or both.”

Christoph Meier

Head of Group Communications & Brand Management Swissport

My team is thrilled with the beautiful front-end, and just as much with the easy-to-use backend. It’s very intuitive, flexible and fast. You can easily connect other things to the platform and then use Ibexa DXP as a uniform backend.


Another innovation on the relaunched site is the news and media center which was built in Ibexa DXP with a headless approach. “You can consume all the information through an API because we think there will be use cases for that in the future – for example, to push or pull the news from the intranet which is run on SharePoint.”

Journalists can access the Swissport newsroom and search stories, corporate reports, photos and videos (“grouped by service in the multimedia center,” adds Saalwächter) and drag these to a media cart to upload as a zip file with a single click.

An investor portal runs from the same instance of Ibexa DXP but is only accessible with a personal log-in. 


Intuitive for visitors and editors alike

The new Swissport website was launched in July 2021, just as the global economy and international travel were beginning to open up. “My team is of course thrilled with the beautiful front-end, and just as much with the easy-to-use backend,” says Meier. “It’s all very intuitive, fast. And I think it’s also open. You can easily connect other things to the platform and then use Ibexa DXP as a uniform backend.”

The project is not entirely finished. Currently, the site is only available in English, but a Spanish and French version are expected to launch soon. “We will also create more country-specific pages for Swissport,” says Saalwächter. “For instance, there are still distinct pages – outside Ibexa DXP – for Israel and Finland to name just two. That is not necessary. The target is to have just one site for the entire Swissport group. In Ibexa DXP.”


Images curtesy of swissport

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