Airport operator AENA, the majority shareholder of London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLA), has announced the launch of the AENA Ventures program, which will provide funding for startups that develop technology to improve the passenger experience at airports.
The program is looking for companies that are developing solutions in the following areas of the passenger experience: agility in procedures and travel to the airport, passenger experience, passenger communication, sustainability and baggage.
The funding is open to startups from all over the world, and applications can be submitted at www.aenaventures.com from now until September 14, 2020.
Each business selected for the program will be eligible for up to €50,000 (US$59,000) in funding from AENA. They will also have access to mentors from AENA to guide them and use of its facilities, such as LLA, to test ideas. At the conclusion of the program, startups will also have the chance to enter into an agreement with the airport operator worth up to €2m (US$2.4m) for the development and deployment of the idea in selected airports.
The six-month program will begin in December 2020 and run until May 2021, when the participating startups will showcase their achievements to AENA executives.
Amparo Brea, the operator’s chief innovation, sustainability and customer experience officer, said, “Startup businesses will be essential for helping to meet the challenges of the aviation sector in the coming years. The AENA Ventures program will allow up to five companies to collaborate and test their products before implementing prototypes in different airports, and potentially securing a deployment contract at the end of the process. As a global airport operator, we hope to attract entries from all around the world and look forward to collaborating with the businesses who will help us to solve the challenges of tomorrow.”
Also commenting on the announcement, Alberto Martin, CEO of LLA, added, “This is an important and timely program, and I hope that startups from the Three Counties region will consider applying. As the aviation industry looks to adjust to a new normal, it is vital that we use technology to best support passengers, and I’m glad that AENA is supporting SMEs in the aviation industry to do this. We look forward to welcoming applications and the potential to work with new partners in the long term.”