Hangar 51 accelerator to help startups fly
International Airlines Group (IAG) has launched its latest Hangar 51 global innovation programme in collaboration with Iberia, Vueling and IAG Cargo. The initiative will be based in Spain for the second time after the huge success of its previous Spanish programme in 2017.
Startups from around the world are invited to join the industry-leading programme which will be hosted in Madrid and Barcelona. Hangar 51 goes beyond a traditional accelerator as the successful applicants will be embedded in the heart of the business working side by side with an international team of mentors and experts from across the Group. Hangar 51 has seen more than 1,200 startup applications worldwide since its launch in 2016.
The 10-week accelerator nurtures start-ups with a broad range of technologies, enabling them to develop and test their products on a global scale. At the end of this period, startups will showcase their achievements at a Demo Day before an audience comprised of the Group’s senior management team and investors. This will give them the opportunity to receive potential investment from IAG’s multimillion pound digital fund to scale their business. In the last three years, the Group has invested in five companies.
The accelerator is welcoming applications in seven categories:
- Airport operations and logistics: smart technologies and robotic processes to optimise performance, safety, efficiency and customer experience.
- Future of customer interaction: wearable devices, self-service technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate passengers’ travel from booking to boarding.
- Disruption management: innovative solutions and travel management tools to support passengers during disruption that affects airlines’ operations such as air traffic control strikes and adverse weather.
- Future cargo logistics: analytics, asset tracking and monitoring tools to optimise cargo operations.
- Sustainability: carbon offset, carbon capture and innovative waste management
- New products and services: tech solutions and platforms that can offer innovative travel, loyalty and payment options to customers.
- Wildcard: any new disruptive ideas that have the potential to reshape the travel industry.
Dupsy Abiola, IAG’s head of global innovation, said: “Hangar 51 supports the next generation of smart thinkers, innovators and change makers in a way that truly matters. We can be a rocket ship for companies that are on the cutting edge and need to scale their business. As one of the world’s largest airline groups, disruptive start-ups can benefit from our size, global exposure and expertise to help drive faster product innovation. There are no borders and it’s a fertile ground for startups to transform the future of travel. Previous programmes have seen applicants from traditional tech hubs, but we’re keen to also tap into emerging markets such as Latin America, Africa and China. Hangar 51 goes from strength to strength and we’ve already seen the benefits for our customers through technologies trialled across the Group.”