San Diego Airport Innovation Lab seeking fifth group of innovators
Published - 09/23/20 - 10:00 AM | 1566 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The Airport Innovation Lab at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) is recruiting applicants for its fifth group of innovators to go through a 16-week accelerator program with a focus on health and safety.

“COVID-19 taught us a lot about the need to create a safe environment for all that move through SAN,” said Kimberly J. Becker, Airport Authority president and CEO.

“Our airport had to pivot and address the changing needs as County Health and Safety measures continued to be imposed on all businesses and public entities. We are looking for innovative ideas that can help shape the travel experience of the future as we continue to adapt our systems and procedures at SAN to reduce the spread of the virus.”

This fifth group will participate in one of two opportunity areas: touchless solutions or queue management solutions. Touchless solutions are innovative ideas that allow contactless movement of passengers throughout the airport such as passenger identification, security, concessions point-of-sale, etc. Queue management solutions are concepts that utilize technology to communicate social distancing recommendations, identify congestion, or otherwise guide queuing to more efficient logistics.

At the end of the program, successful innovators have the potential to win a contract from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the airport’s owner and operator, and/or gain entrée to other airports and analogous businesses including other transportation hubs, convention centers, shopping malls and other large venues such as ballparks, theme parks, and hotels.

One of the first companies to participate in the Airport Innovation Lab, @YourGate, launched its in-airport meal delivery concept at SAN. Today they are operating at SAN as well as other airports across the county. For a list of all companies who have participated in the previous accelerator programs and their products, please visit the Airport Innovation Lab’s Success Stories.

The fourth group launched in March 2020 just before pandemic stay-at-home orders were imposed by the local government. This group participated in a full-virtual program and were able to test their solutions at SAN during the late summer and fall months. During the program, the team held virtual workshops, sessions with subject matter experts from the Airport Authority, and enhanced virtual networking that included a zoom background challenge.

The virtual format allowed these small early-stage businesses to engage in meaningful work in the midst of the pandemic. The fourth group will wrap up the accelerator program in October 2020. Innovators for the fifth group will start the program with the virtual format until COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Potential applicants have until Oct. 4 to apply to the program which starts in November 2020 and will continue through March 2021. Ideal applicants will have an existing prototype that can be tested in a real-life airport environment, and ideas that are new to U.S. airports or an extension of an existing service or product to be tested at SAN.

The unique Lab was launched to reduce barriers for innovators to break into the aviation industry. The 3,500 square-foot space in the former Commuter Terminal offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, all without passenger or security concerns to work around.

For more information and to apply, go to

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