IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the creation of Accelerate@IATA, an industry level innovation platform designed to support airlines and their value chain partners by speeding up new technology implementation around IATA standards. The program brings together airlines, value chain partners, and startups to pinpoint problems, find solutions and ultimately demonstrate value through pilots and implementations. IATA also announced it selected Plug and Play to help operate the program and identify and connect with Plug and Play’s network of more than 15,000 startups. 

“All businesses are racing to introduce new technology that makes them more competitive. But aviation is an industry that combines global interconnected processes, multiple complementary players in the value chain and legacy infrastructure — and that can make the pace of digital transformation more challenging. Accelerate@IATA addresses this innovation issue at the industry level by connecting start-ups with airlines and provides the opportunity to pilot technologies at scale in areas related to IATA standards, initially focused on digital retailing,” said Aleks Popovich, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Financial and Distribution Services. 

The plan is to accelerate around 20 startups per year in two batches, matching their solutions with industry requirements. While the first couple of batches will focus on the digital retailing journey, the intent is to expand to other industry issues in the future. The accelerator supports selected startups through education, mentorship, and, potentially, with financing from participating corporate partners.

“Accelerate@IATA will join IATA’s industry knowledge with Plug and Play’s innovation expertise to create a robust three-month program culminating in pilots, which will bring value to its partners (airlines, tech companies, etc.) and startups,” said Popovich.

In partnering with Plug and Play, IATA is joining with an innovation platform and startup accelerator with verticals in over 16 industries that runs more than 50 accelerator programs a year.

“We are thrilled to join forces with IATA to run multiple 90-day programs out of Geneva, Switzerland. Plug and Play’s global reach across stage agnostic startups and IATA’s 290 airline members are the perfect foundation for establishing a world-class program and help airlines accelerate their digital initiatives,” said Amir Amidi, Plug and Play’s Managing Partner, Travel and Hospitality.

IATA and program members will set the technology and business focus for each of the acceleration batches.

Each batch will be divided into four phases:

  • Startup sourcing phase, closing with Selection Day
  • Three-month acceleration program
  • Presentation of solutions on Demo Day
  • Pilot phase with airline partners

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