The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has partnered with 1776, an entrepreneurial incubator firm, to launch the Airport Innovation Challenge, a competition for startup firms to create and deploy new products and services to enhance the airport passenger experience.
The partnership is an extension of the marketing and collaboration agreement MWAA and 1776 formed in February 2017.
Firms participating in the Airport Innovation Challenge will pitch their ideas in December. Winners will receive $15,000 in prizes and travel to Northern Virginia, where they will spend three months, from January to March in 2018, at the airports authority’s Innovation Lab at 1776’s Crystal City campus near Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia.
At the lab startup firms will test their business models and products, working with airports authority experts, as well as mentors from 1776 and Union, a global innovation network.
“Technology and innovation are reshaping the expectations and experiences of the millions of travelers who pass through airports every year,” says Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter. “We expect the startup businesses taking part in the Airport Innovation Challenge to help create the next generation of products and services that will characterize the airports of tomorrow.”
Jerome L. Davis, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at MWAA, who also serves as the executive sponsor of the 1776 partnership, notes that airports around the world are becoming more competitive with new terminal facilities, passenger amenities and technology-based services to make the travel experience more pleasant, convenient and efficient.
“Reagan National and Dulles International airports, which are the Washington, D.C., region’s gateways to the nation and the world, are committed to being leaders in developing the next generation of airport technologies and services,” says Davis. “Our partnership with 1776, which discovers and develops up-and-coming technology-based companies, is the perfect forum for introducing game-changing innovations to help take our airports – and the entire air travel industry – into the future.”