A Silicon Valley accelerator has hosted an airport innovations event at Gatwick Airport, bringing together tech startups along with Vinci Airport’s global network and other UK airports, airlines and universities.
Accelerator Plug & Play introduces new tech startups and entrepreneurs to established businesses with a view to fast-tracking their innovations and driving forward improvements at scale across a particular sector – in this case airports.
Sixteen startups from around the world attended, including: London and Copenhagen-based platforms that connect travelers with hotels and shops where they can store bags without searching for a specialist luggage facility; a Paris-based startup that helps airlines improve fuel efficiency, saving money and emissions; a New York-based firm that uses machine learning to predict flight disruption and automatically rebook passengers on alternative flights; and a London-based startup that aims to make air travel ‘baggage-less’ by checking-in luggage at home and delivering it to the passenger’s final destination.
The startups pitched their products to event attendees and five ‘reverse-pitches’ were also given by airport users – including pilots, airfield staff and others who work at the airport – to highlight challenges they face so that the startups could take these away and work up possible future solutions.
Local universities and business groups were also among those attending, including the University of Sussex, the University of Chichester, and Chambers of Commerce from both Horley and Crawley.
“This event kick-started numerous discussions that may not otherwise have happened and we hope it will supercharge airport innovation at Gatwick and other airports across the UK and further afield,” said Abhi Chacko, head of innovation at Gatwick Airport.