IAG and DFW are latest Corporate Partners to join FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub to accelerate utilisation of cutting-edge technologies


The FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub is a truly unique community, playing a crucial role in accelerating the speed at which industry stakeholders master utilisation of cutting-edge technologies. Members openly share expertise, experiences and inspiration year-round through curated virtual and live environments globally. This year, the FTE Hub is being reimagined – we are working to significantly scale membership in 2024 with the introduction of pioneering industry Captains (from Southwest Airlines, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Ink Innovation, ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, and Barich, Inc), a digital-centric, community-focused approach, and a new pricing model to make it accessible to all.

International Airlines Group (IAG) and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) are the latest Corporate Partners to join. Welcoming IAG – one of the world’s leading airline groups, and DFW – one of the world’s busiest super-hub airports, highlights the strength of the broadening membership.

“I am absolutely thrilled to welcome our new members,” says Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines and Head of Innovation, Digitalisation & Startup Engagement, Future Travel Experience. “Their addition to our community brings fresh perspectives and diverse talents, which undoubtedly enriches the Hub. I am excited to collaborate, learn, and share our experiences as we work towards reimagining the Hub. Welcome aboard!”

Being a Corporate Partner of the FTE Hub is an opportunity to engage with the industry and learn from others. It provides invaluable access to a diverse network of startups and industry innovators, fostering collaboration among members and startups. Engaging with startups injects fresh perspectives, agility, and innovative ideas, essential for staying competitive and driving sustainable growth in the dynamic aviation landscape. Corporate Partners currently include:

  • Aeroporti di Roma
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  • Ditto
  • Fraunhofer IML
  • Greater Toronto Airports Authority
  • International Airlines Group (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL)
  • Korean Air
  • Los Angeles World Airports
  • Miami International Airport
  • NEOM
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • SITA
  • SkyTeam
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Springshot
  • Tampa International Airport
  • United Airlines
  • VINCI Airports
  • Western Sydney Airport

IAG: Pushing the boundaries with emerging technologies and supporting startups and scaleups

Tom Cannell, Program Director, Airports Automation, IAG Airports: “Collaboration is at the heart of our innovation efforts and we very much look forward to engaging with the FTE Hub community of forward-thinking innovators – airlines, airports and startups – to explore opportunities to deliver positive industry change together.”

International Airlines Group (IAG), whose member airlines include British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL, is on an impressive transformation journey – not only of its own operations, but also how our industry operates. As this FTE exclusive article highlights, IAG will be collaborating with its partners on a wide range of trials, covering robotics & automation, AI & Machine Learning, biometrics & digital identity, personalisation, collaboration with startups, sustainability, private networks & IoT, and much more across the ramp, lounges and accessibility.

“We are very impressed by the digital-centric, community-focused approach of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub,” says Tom Cannell, Program Director, Airports Automation, IAG Airports. “IAG strives to push the boundaries with emerging technologies and new approaches, including supporting startups and scaleups that have the potential to transform our industry. Collaboration is at the heart of our innovation efforts and we very much look forward to engaging with the FTE Hub community of forward-thinking innovators – airlines, airports and startups – to explore opportunities to deliver positive industry change together. The FTE Hub’s 2024 themes of AI, Robotics and Internet of Things are perfectly aligned with our own areas of focus and we welcome the opportunity to participate in the comprehensive schedule of FTE Hub activities planned throughout the year.”

DFW: “We value the community-centric approach and emphasis on collaboration”

Paul Puopolo, EVP Innovation, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport: “It’s clear that the Future Travel Experience team has built a comprehensive schedule of FTE Hub activities throughout 2024, which – alongside the themes of AI, Robotics and Internet of Things – are very much aligned with our own focus on innovation and digital transformation.”

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is among the world’s most progressive and was recognised on the shortlist for the FTE Pioneer Awards in 2023. It has an ambitious capital investment programme underway, including a state-of-the-art new Terminal F and the rebuilding and expansion of Terminal C, alongside improvements to the customer experience across existing terminals.

DFW is embracing innovation in areas such autonomous mobility, connectivity, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as increased electrification with projects including a mobile EV chargers programme and construction of an electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP) to provide sustainably-powered heating and cooling. The airport is also partnering with Overair – a developer of advanced electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – to explore the future of vertiport development and eVTOL aircraft operations within the DFW Metroplex.

“DFW celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and we have a long history of building the groundwork today for the airport needs of the future,” says Paul Puopolo, EVP Innovation, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. “DFW has joined the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub because we value the community-centric approach and emphasis on collaboration, as well as the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with, learn from and share experiences with like-minded airports, airlines and other key innovators. It’s clear that the Future Travel Experience team has built a comprehensive schedule of FTE Hub activities throughout 2024, which – alongside the themes of AI, Robotics and Internet of Things – are very much aligned with our own focus on innovation and digital transformation.”

Next FTE Hub in-person meeting, Tampa, 28-29 February 2024: “Discover what’s shaping the future of our industry, and ignite creativity and innovation”

The next in-person members’ meeting of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub takes place in Tampa on 28-29 February 2024, hosted by Tampa International Airport. It will be jointly hosted alongside the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group (BIWG) meeting to facilitate knowledge-sharing on topics of mutual interest. “We will hear about some of the groundbreaking work underway at Tampa International Airport, as well as gain insights into the pioneering endeavours of other industry leaders,” explains Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines and Head of Innovation, Digitalisation & Startup Engagement, Future Travel Experience. “It’s a chance to explore the forefront of advancements, discover what’s shaping the future of our industry, and ignite our own creativity and innovation.”

The three core themes of the FTE Hub for 2024 are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and these topics are at the forefront of our FTE Hub meetings over the next 12 months. In line with the new community-focused approach, the schedule of monthly members’ meetings and activities for 2024 has been expanded to facilitate even more engagement, and the next in-person meeting takes place in Tampa on 28-29 February 2024, hosted by Tampa International Airport.

“The upcoming FTE Hub meeting in Tampa will provide an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the cutting-edge world of technology and innovation,” explains Kevin Kleist, Senior Emerging Trends Advisor, Southwest Airlines and Head of Innovation, Digitalisation & Startup Engagement, Future Travel Experience. “We will hear about some of the groundbreaking work underway at Tampa International Airport, as well as gain insights into the pioneering endeavours of other industry leaders. It’s a chance to explore the forefront of advancements, discover what’s shaping the future of our industry, and ignite our own creativity and innovation.”

Joining the FTE Hub is an opportunity to share experiences and collaborate among industry stakeholders to help drive innovation and efficiency. Kleist adds that, by participating in the FTE Hub, you gain access to a wealth of insights, best practices, and emerging technologies, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability. “Together, we can tackle common challenges, capitalise on opportunities, and shape the future of travel. Join us in this collaborative journey to unlock new possibilities and deliver exceptional experiences for passengers worldwide.”

Find out more about the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub >>
The three core themes of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub for 2024 are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and these topics are at the forefront of our FTE Hub meetings over the next 12 months.

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