Startups acceleration program

Runway to the future: Aeroporti di Roma's Acceleration Programme for Start-ups

Aeroporti di Roma's interest in innovation stems from our desire to be the protagonist of change in the aviation industry. That is why it is necessary to move the horizon forward, seeking new solutions to imagine and design the airport of the future.
ADR's commitment to innovation is fully embodied in its Innovation Programme, a catalyst for enhancing passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability.
The Runway to the Future programme is a tangible example of ADR's commitment to fostering innovation both internally and globally by seeking out international and domestic start-ups to test high-value technology products and services. 
We have set up an Innovation Hub, a physical space for working with start-ups, within the airport. This space, located inside Terminal 1, allows start-ups from all over the world to work with our experts. Each start-up will have a mentor, i.e. a member of our Innovation Cabin Crew, which is a group of people identified at company level to guide innovative projects and activities within the Innovation Hub, made up of the heads of the various Aeroporti di Roma business areas.
The mentors accompany innovative start-ups in their process of understanding and integration within the context and processes of the airport, so that they can test their solutions effectively in our reality.  
The programme follows an annual cycle and starts with the launch of Call4Startups in January. The call will be open until mid-March and is aimed at innovative companies, both start-ups and SMEs. Solutions to various challenges can be proposed within the Call4Startups: 
  1. Airport Smart Operations & Processes - Rethinking airport operations in order to build a smart and interconnected airport 
  2. Infrastructure Management & Development - Identifying solutions that support the continuous improvement of our airport 
  3. Passenger Experience - Improving the passenger experience to ensure an increasingly pleasant and smooth journey for passengers 
  4. NetZero Airport and Sustainability - Contributing to the NetZero goal through technology, process management and social sustainability.
  5. Commercial Opportunities - Identifying new commercial opportunities for passengers by exploiting new technologies and customising the offer. 
  6. Disruptive Solutions - Solutions that create value for the airport and its stakeholders 
  7. Integrated Mobility - Solutions to support and facilitate the use of integrated mobility solutions, exploiting connections to and from the airport. 
After selecting the best start-ups from among the applicants, the programme will run for a total of eight months and consist of two main phases: 
  1. Set-up Phase:
Two months devoted to dialogue between start-up, mentor and working group to establish the Proof of Concept (PoC) and consequently define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which its success will be assessed, and the project timeline.  
  1. Delivery Phase: 
The start-up will then enter the Delivery Phase, which will run for six months. This phase will be dedicated to PoC execution and development, with the aim of putting ideas into practice and demonstrating the feasibility of the project. This structured approach ensures gradual and well-organised progression, enabling start-ups to measure themselves against our reality, evaluating the integration into our operational processes, so as to demonstrate the potential and benefits the implementation of their solutions can bring and measuring their impact on the airport’s business and operations.   
At the end of the trial phase, Aeroporti di Roma will assess the interest in the solution obtained and may then decide to contract the start-up with agreements of up to EUR 2 million. 
Our objective is the integration of innovative solutions within our airports. The ultimate goal is to build a new process, a new technological solution that not only facilitates the passenger experience, but also optimises all our processes. 


Innovation Hub, where ideas become the Future


The Aeroporti di Roma Innovation Hub, opened on 17 October 2022, is a place where professionals, entrepreneurs, academics and innovators meet to share ideas, knowledge and experience.
In a space of 650 m2, the Innovation Hub provides multi-purpose space and resources for start-ups and working groups of the projects participating in the 'Runway to the Future' programme.
Located inside Fiumicino Airport, the Innovation Hub directly overlooks the departure area of Terminal 1, enabling those who work there to experience the day-to-day operations in an airport. This proximity allows start-ups to test their solutions directly on the field, involving Aeroporti di Roma’s passengers and operators.
The space consists of:

  • 1 Event Arena with 140'' ledwall
  • 6 boxes and work areas with 49'' screens, expandable to twice the capacity
  • 3 co-working areas with 24'’ screens
  • 2 meeting rooms with 65'' screens;
  • 1 informal meeting area with armchairs and 65'’ screen
The Hub lends itself to being a functional and inspiring venue for organising corporate events, thanks to its equipment.
Over the past six months, the Innovation Hub has hosted:
  • 10 events in the Arena, including lectures and seminars to facilitate knowledge sharing;
  • 15 workshops and lectures, to offer education and training to support professional growth and the development of the skills needed in the age of innovation, involving Italian and foreign universities, research institutes and associations;
  • In addition to hosting start-ups, the hub is used daily for meetings and networking.

In summary, the Innovation Hub is a dynamic environment that aims to create an innovation-friendly ecosystem through collaboration, continuous learning and experimentation.