23 June 2022
“Airports for Innovation” expands its network: a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote joint innovative solutions towards sustainable airport growth
Fiumicino, 23.06.2022 – In the frame of ACI Europe’s 32nd Annual Congress and General Assembly, currently taking place at Fiumicino airport in Rome, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA) and Athens International Airport (AIA) have just joined the international network “Airports for Innovation”, founded by Aeroporti di Roma and Aena in 2021 with the goal to explore innovative and sustainable solutions covering the whole passenger experience in the post pandemic context, setting the ground for a sustainable future.

The MoU was signed by Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma, Javier Marín San Andrés, Executive Board Member & Managing Director – Airports at Aena, Yiannis Paraschis, CEO of Athens International Airport, Franck Goldnadel, CEO of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.


The “Airports for Innovation” initiative aims at designing solutions, as well as proposing and testing effective technologies that could be deployed in the airport environment aimed to reach a common solution with a passenger centric approach with the aim to be used by wider aviation community in the longer term – supporting the industry to seek for solutions that could help redefine business growth with a more sustainable approach. Scope of this group of companies is to work jointly according to the policies and rules defined by the stakeholders of the industry.


Airports represent key economic drivers and play a crucial role in restoring global connectivity and travellers’ confidence. As the pandemic has dramatically changed passengers’ behaviours and expectations, the rise of seamless technological solutions and the digital transformation have accelerated, and the focus on sustainability has become even more central.


Being a member of the network provides access to data, know how and insights enhancing collaboration and a common view on innovation with a data driven and “hands on” approach thanks to the unique environment of an airport so close to a smart city.


All the members of the network have already implemented several innovative initiatives in terms of calls for ideas, start-ups engagement, physical incubators dedicated to innovation, demonstrating an “hands on” and concrete approach with continuous Proof of Concept (PoC) and a collaborative mindset by the creation of an ecosystem of partnership, shaping a new way in which passengers interact and live the infrastructure in a more digital and sustainable way.


“Airports for Innovation” strongly believe in the need of a shared approach to design clear and simpler processes and rules with the aim to scale up innovation from a stand-alone approach to an industry scale. More specifically, the Parties signing the MoU agree to initiate, undertake research, and promote innovative solutions aimed at:


  • Identifying sustainable solutions, in the path towards the green transition of the airports’ sector
  • Enhancing the Digital Transformation process
  • Working on the concept of “Open Innovation” with external stakeholders (start-ups, universities, external companies…)
  • Improving passengers’ experience
  • Guaranteeing a healthy and touchless passengers’ journey inside the terminal using new technologies
  • Offering the highest levels of safety and security
  • Optimizing corporate processes


To reach these objectives, the airports involved commit to:

  1. Shaping a common Innovation roadmap, through a regular exchange on:
    • emerging passengers needs and innovative service opportunities
    • KPI’s on most relevant innovative projects
    • relevant performance KPI’s of the airport


  1. Building the “Network for Innovation” Start-up ecosystem:
    • Coordination on start-up scouting / recruiting activities
    • Define a common database of start-ups for current and future projects
    • Evaluation of co-investment opportunities on a case-by-case basis


  1. Joining efforts in implementing Innovation by defining shared “Call for ideas”:
    • Evaluation and coordination in the development of relevant PoCs in the respective airports on a case-by-case basis on a voluntary approach
    • Coordination in shaping new technological standards / service protocols relevant for the aviation industry


  1. Evaluating potential expansions of the Airport for Innovation members to promote the network to potential likeminded prospects


The four players involved in the Network represent around 15% of Europe’s traffic; in particular the organization will represent 50 airports at European level, their goal is to identify solutions whose scalability can relate to a wider group of airports focused on the centrality of their passengers’ experience. Indeed, Airports for Innovation aims at being an “open platform” to share knowledge, insights, KPI’s, start-ups and best practices, where other airports are welcomed to join.

We see innovation as a shared process with the passenger in mind for a more innovative and sustainable airport growth.