IAG partners with Plug and Play on Hangar 51 Accelerator

Posted on 6 June, 2024 by Advance 

International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced a partnership with Plug and Play, to work together on the eighth edition of the Hangar 51 Accelerator programme, in collaboration with their operating companies.

Image copyright Billion Photos / Shutterstock

The partnership with Plug and Play includes Plug and Play Mobility, located in the UK and Plug and Play Travel & Hospitality, located in Vienna, Austria. Hangar 51 is IAG's innovation team and the accelerator is focused on solving valuable business challenges together with the most innovative startups. Startups and scaleups worldwide are invited to apply to join the programme, where they can test their technology under operational conditions.

Through the Hangar 51 Accelerator, IAG's innovative approach focuses on addressing key challenges within the industry, including sustainability, operational efficiency and passenger-centric solutions. IAG is committed to decarbonisation and accelerating change towards a more sustainable industry by leveraging sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) solutions and optimising operational practices to minimise environmental impact.

Through the Hangar 51 Accelerator program, the selected companies will:

Work with airlines or operating companies on a proof of value, with the possibility of a commercial contract if successful.
Gain a deep insight into aviation operations and develop their understanding of aviation customer needs and preferences.
Benefit from introductions across the Group and the broader industry.

Annalisa Gigante, Head of Innovation at IAG said: "We are excited to launch the 2024 edition of the Hangar 51 Accelerator together with Plug and Play. At IAG, we want to generate a positive commercial impact from innovation, and we believe that this makes Hangar 51 different from traditional accelerator programs.

"This year marks our eighth edition of the Hangar 51 Accelerator, and our ambition is even higher than in the past. By partnering with Plug and Play, we want to work together -as both of us are leading companies in our industries- to attract the most talented startups that can join us in our path to achieve net zero, deliver the best customer experience, and also in our ambition to lead the industry when it comes to innovation."

Plug and Play runs accelerator programs in over 60 locations and across 25 industries worldwide. The joint partnership was first announced at Plug and Play's annual Mobility Expo on 21st May 2024, in Birmingham, before being launched to the airline industry at Plug and Play's Travel & Hospitality Expo in Vienna on 4th June 2024. IAG is now an official partner of both platforms.

The Plug and Play Expo in both the UK and Austria are the biggest events of the year, celebrating the many innovation projects and corporate-startup collaborations that have taken place over the previous year.

Kieran Borret, Director of Plug and Play UK said: "We are thrilled to welcome IAG to the UK Mobility Platform, an extension of a truly global network of corporate mobility partners, from Silicon Valley to Tokyo.

"Here in the UK, we are consciously building a broad network of partners across land, air and sea and forging connections with adjacent industries, such as energy, infrastructure and technology, which enable them to solve their most pressing business problems. We are also delighted to partner with Plug and Play Travel & Hospitality on this partnership, which highlights the strength of Plug and Play and the cooperation between our offices."

Nik Munaretto, Director of Plug and Play Austria said: "By joining our EMEA Travel & Hospitality and UK Mobility programmes, IAG sets an example of how open innovation can accelerate technology implementation across a multinational group and move the needle for an entire industry. Aviation is by default an extremely collaborative industry, hence it only makes sense to involve the best startups from around the world to work on solving universal challenges such as drastically cutting CO2 emissions, introducing robotics or elevating the end-to-end passenger experience. We at Plug and Play can't be more proud to work with IAG on those important topics and are excited to welcome its carriers to a truly global ecosystem of industry peers."

Together with other programme partners such as Vienna Airport, Fraport AG, Aeroporti di Roma, JetBlue Ventures, Changi Airport, SkyTeam and Austrian Airlines, IAG will have the opportunity to engage in a truly open innovation ecosystem sharing best practices, new ideas and technologies.