San Diego Airport Innovation Lab begins recruitment process for second group of innovators


The 3,500-square-foot space in the airport’s former Commuter Terminal offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, without passenger or security concerns to work around.

San Diego International Airport is welcoming applicants for its second group of innovators to take part in its Airport Innovation Lab. The candidates will go through a 16-week accelerator programme with the potential to win a contract from the airport’s owner and operator, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

All members of the first group recently completed the programme and are now negotiating for contracts focused on parking and simplifying the airport journey.

“Our inaugural programme provided proof of concept,” said Rick Belliotti, Director of Innovation and Small Business Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “All five of the companies that went through the programme won the opportunity to advance to contract discussions. Now we want to make the opportunity wide open. Essentially, we want innovators to come in and show us what we don’t know. Our intent is to present future opportunities with specific focus areas, but also have a more general, ‘wild-card’ opportunity such as this one.”

The airport seeks innovators with ideas or solutions that accomplish one or more of the following: enhance the passenger experience, improve operational efficiency, identify non-airline revenue sources and decrease costs for the Airport Authority. The application process will close on 11 January 2019.

In addition to being deployed at San Diego International Airport, successful innovations could be rolled out to other airports and analogous businesses, such as shopping malls, convention centres and other transportation hubs.

Kimberly J. Becker, President/CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, added: “We are very excited to see what happens with our second group of innovators. We anticipate seeing new ideas to address existing challenges, as well as the potential for radical new concepts.”

SAN’s Innovation Lab was launched to reduce barriers for innovators to break into the aviation industry. The 3,500-square-foot space in the airport’s former Commuter Terminal offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, without passenger or security concerns to work around.