TPA hosts FTE Innovation Communities; POC update; plus LHR & DOH headline airport retailing webinar on 14 March

Future Travel Experience’s role as a dynamic community catalyst and enabler of industry transformation is being spearheaded via its three Communities – the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup HubBaggage Innovation Working Group, and World Airport Retailing Working Group. Each Community brings together the industry’s most progressive minds in a welcoming, informal group providing invaluable opportunities for knowledge-sharing, business development, networking and fun.

In a landmark event, the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub along with the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group members convened on 28-29 February 2024 at Tampa International Airport (TPA). This collaborative event, hosted by TPA, attracted over 50 industry professionals in-person and 35+ online, who exchanged ideas, strategies, and insights in a bid to shape the future of aviation. Participants engaged in a series of dynamic discussions, took part in exclusive airport tours, enjoyed social events including a golf tournament and Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey game, and had the opportunity to listen to compelling startup pitches as well as insightful presentations delivered by International Airlines Group (IAG) and TPA officials.

TPA on terminal expansion plans and pioneering tech advancements in LiDAR, AI, and e-Gates

Tampa International Airport (TPA) showcased its forward-thinking terminal expansion and technological advancements aimed at redefining the travel experience. Doug Wycoff, Senior Manager of Passenger Processing & Innovation, Tampa International Airport highlighted the construction of the new 16-gate Airside D, a project aligned with TPA’s vision to accommodate increasing passenger numbers. Significantly, Wycoff emphasised TPA’s commitment to innovation, detailing the integration of groundbreaking LiDAR and AI technologies, as well as the deployment of additional e-Gates, set to enhance operational efficiency and transform TPA into a benchmark for modern airport experiences. Additionally, the team at TPA also outlined the latest advancements in baggage technology, including the introduction of a sophisticated Checked Baggage Inspection System and the implementation of advanced cross-belt sorter technology, setting new standards in efficiency and security for baggage handling.

Learn more about the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub >>

Learn more about the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group >>

IAG shares ambitious vision to achieve full automation in airport operations

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 the industry operates. IAG is a new Corporate Partner of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub, alongside the likes of Isavia, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, DataArt, Orlando International Airport, Western Sydney Airport and Ditto. During the meeting in Tampa, attendees heard an insightful presentation from Keith Walters, Group Transformation Lead and Project Manager, IAG Airports, who shared the group’s groundbreaking vision to revolutionise airport experiences by achieving full automation in airport operations. This innovative strategy encompasses cutting-edge above-wing and below-wing technology advancements, from automation and AI to the introduction of baggage robotics, all designed to enhance safety, streamline processes, and reduce operational costs, with IAG Innovation Hubs key to spearheading these transformative efforts.

Attendees also heard presentations from four startup leaders, who shared their visions on optimising airport operations. Marcelo Madeira, Founder & CEO, D2Airport discussed the potential of off-airport baggage check-in services, heralding a new era of convenience and efficiency for passengers. Rocio Frej Vitalle, Founder & CEO, Improving Aviation, introduced the TARMAC solution, a revolutionary platform designed to automate and centralise airfield operations, promising enhanced coordination and safety. Corey Clothier from ARIBO delved into the transformative prospects of autonomous vehicle technology to drive autonomous ground handling. Lastly, Kellen Schroeter of Pattern Labs demonstrated the impactful application of Machine Learning in optimising airside operations, illustrating a future where data-driven decisions enhance efficiency and operational flow.

Learn more about the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub >>

Learn more about the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group >>

FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group – update on major baggage imaging POC

Darin Juby, Head of Baggage Transformation, FTE, highlighted the progressive strides of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group. The focus was on an ambitious Proof of Concept (POC) initiative that’s bringing a new level of collaboration and technological advancement to baggage management. This POC uniquely interlinks three major Canadian airports — Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver — with Air Canada and various technology suppliers in a concerted effort to pioneer advanced baggage imaging solutions. This collaborative project showcases the potential for innovation in enhancing baggage handling efficiency, while setting a precedent for industry-wide cooperation in solving complex operational challenges.

In other news, Royal Schiphol Group – an Airport Lab Network Partner of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group (BIWG) and a Corporate Partner of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub – is launching a new initiative this year that will see a global coalition of airports accelerate baggage innovation together, with a focus on robotics and automation. The “coalition of the willing” is being built in partnership with Future Travel Experience via the BIWG and all output and learnings will be continuously shared for the benefit of BIWG members. Find out more here.

Learn more about the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub >>

Learn more about the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group >>

FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group – Vantage Airport Group, Heathrow, DOH, Avolta and Kinetic Consultancy headline next members’ meeting on 14 March 2024

In other news, we are excited to unveil the lineup for the upcoming FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group (WARWG) virtual meeting, scheduled for 14 March at 10:30 EST. With the theme “The Airport Commercial Strategy Revolution: Innovation, Experience, Engagement”, we have an exceptional panel of industry experts ready to share their insights. Moderated by Sammy Patel, Vice President Commercial at Vantage Airport Group, and Martijn Steur, Managing Director of Kinetic Consultancy, the discussion will feature contributions from Gerald Ong, Strategy and Commercial Development at Hamad International Airport; Isabel Zarza, CEO Southern Europe at Avolta; and Fraser Brown, Retail Director at Heathrow Airport.

The FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group is open to all relevant industry stakeholders, with over 230 organisations, including airports, airlines, and retailers, already signed up as members, reflecting our dedication to fostering broad engagement within the industry.

The Working Group will meet in-person in Dublin on 11 June 2024 ahead of the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events. Register your interest to play your part in this landmark industry project.

Learn more about the FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group >>

Upcoming FTE Communities members-only meetings

14 March 2024FTE World Airport Retailing Working Group members-only virtual meeting
Content plans: Progressive digital retailing strategies from around the world

19 March 2024FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub members-only virtual meeting
Content plans: Internet of Things (IoT), plus special presentations from Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, Miami International Airport and Ditto

20 March 2024FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group
Content plans: Proof of Concept (POC) update, baggage tracking advancements, and new member presentation

15 April 2024 – Joint FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub & Baggage Innovation Working Group
Content plans: In-person meeting hosted at the Lufthansa Aviation Centre, Frankfurt Airport

View the full FTE Communities events & activities schedule here >>



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