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The Airport Innovation Challenge: Transform the Traveler Journey


From a single commercial air passenger in 1914 to 3.8 billion passenger trips in 2016, flying has become the preferred choice for longer distance business and leisure travel. Along with this explosion in air traffic has come an exponential increase in the number of choices and touch points that impact the passenger experience. Now more than ever, passengers want to take control of their own journey.

MWAA and 1776 launched the Airport Innovation Challenge, powered by UNION, to activate the startup community and identify innovations that will transform the passenger journey. Three startups with new technologies and business models were selected to participate in the program, working hand-in-hand with MWAA to improve their products and take their startups to the next level. Meet the companies below:

FetchyFox — Creating a marketplace inside the airport to meet the modern traveler experience.

GoWith — Uses AI Technology to create a social map of the airport and connect with fellow passengers.

Sleepbox– Creates tech-driven, hospitality anywhere travelers need it, from attractions in urban centers to postsecurity in airports.

The MWAA Passenger Experience Innovation Lab will culminate in a  demo day, where these entrepreneurs will present their companies and the progress they’ve made throughout the program. Demo day may also provide a chance for the startups to secure future partnership opportunities or investments from MWAA to continue enhancing the passenger experience.

The participating startups  each received $15,000 and will work on the MWAA Innovation Lab from 1776’s Crystal City campus. Startups applied to the program over the last several months. Once applications closed, the team reviewed and selected the next round to hold virtual interviews with and ultimately selected the three participating startups to move forward with the program given their alignment with the goals of improving the passenger experience.

Applications are now closed