London Luton Airport owner, Aena, launches innovation programme

(Photo: London Luton Airport)

Aena, the majority shareholder of London Luton Airport Operations Limited, has announced the launch of the Aena Ventures programme, which will provide funding for start-ups looking to use technology to improve the passenger experience at airports.

The programme is looking for companies which are developing solutions in the following areas of the passenger experience:

  • Agility in procedures and travel to the airport
  • Passenger experience
  • Passenger communication
  • Sustainability
  • Baggage

Aena said it is open to start-ups from all over the world, and applications can be submitted at www.aenaventures.com from now until September 14.

Each business selected for the programme will be eligible for up to $50,000 in funding from Aena. On top of this, each start-up will have access to mentors from Aena to guide them and access to Aena facilities, such as Luton Airport, to test ideas. At the conclusion of the programme, start-ups will also have the chance to enter into an agreement with Aena worth up to €2 million for the development and deployment of the idea in selected airports.

The six-month programme will begin in December 2020 and run until May 2021, when the participating start-ups will showcase their achievements to Aena executives.

Commenting on the announcement, Amparo Brea, chief innovation, sustainability and customer experience officer at Aena, said: “Start-up businesses will be essential for helping to meet the challenges of the aviation sector in the coming years. The Aena Ventures programme will allow up to five companies to collaborate and test their products before implementing prototypes in different airports, and potentially securing a deployment contract at the end of the process. As a global airport operator, we hope to attract entries from all around the world and look forward to collaborating with the businesses who will help us to solve the challenges of tomorrow”.

Also commenting on the announcement, Alberto Martin, CEO of Luton Airport added: “This is an important and timely programme, and I hope that start-ups from the Three Counties region [Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire] will consider applying. As the aviation industry looks to adjust to a new normal, it is vital that we use technology to best support passengers, and I’m glad that Aena is supporting SMEs in the aviation industry to do this. We look forward to welcoming applications and the potential to work with new partners in the long term.”