Aena sets up its international start-up accelerator at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport


12 April 2021

The Aena Ventures programme provides €50,000 in funding to each of the five selected start-ups who will also have the chance to enter into agreements with Aena worth up to €2 million.

 The start-ups are to be based in the iconic Terminal T2 control tower at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport.

 The accelerator will support innovation projects in the strategic business areas of travel to the airport, the passenger experience, passenger communication, airport sustainability and baggage handling.

The acceleration period will kick off with the Aena Ventures Welcome Week which is to take place from 12 to 16 April in Barcelona.

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is to host the headquarters of the international start-up accelerator which Aena has set up with the aim of promoting innovation and technology in its strategic business areas. Aena Ventures will drive innovative, sustainable and efficient initiatives developing disruptive technologies in order to deliver solutions to the current and future challenges facing the air transport industry.

The five start-ups taking part in Aena Ventures are from France, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Spain and are all set to move into the iconic control tower next to Terminal T2. There they will be mentored by airport industry experts to shape projects harnessing the benefits of technology and new business models in airport infrastructure while also developing smart systems to enhance the customer experience.

Each of the projects is to receive €50,000 in funding to implement their ideas. In addition, they are also all eligible to enter into an agreement with Aena worth up to €2 million for the development and deployment of their initiative at the selected airports.

The acceleration process for these entrepreneurial projects will kick off with the Aena Ventures Welcome Week, which is to be held in-person in Barcelona from 12 to 16 April and will feature all the hygiene and health measures needed to ensure the safety of the event and all its attendees. The Week will be packed with activities and workshops for the start-ups, including working groups designed to lay down the specifics of the pilot scheme which each of the companies is to carry out over the six months the acceleration programme lasts.

Companies from 33 countries submitted bids to take part in the programme

Aena has chosen the Aena Ventures programme participants after a process in which 254 projects were submitted, 55% of which came from abroad and a total of 33 different countries. The call addressed the development of proposals on five future challenges in the airport industry: agility in procedures and travel to the airport, passenger experience, passenger communication, sustainability and baggage handling.

Meep, a Spanish firm, is to conduct a project for route planning which combines all means of transport, including the integrated purchase of tickets and analysis of the least congested routes.

Chinespain, also a Spanish business, will promote tourism experiences between China and Spain and is working on developing an app to enable more flexible communication and payment management for travellers from China.

Airbot, founded in the United Kingdom, delivers technology for seamless communication between airports and passengers to enhance the relationship between them using a multi-channel chat solution.

Carwatt, a French firm, has submitted an initiative in which it converts internal combustion vehicles to electricity which would help to cut pollutant gas emissions at airports.

Finally, Dubz, based in the United Arab Emirates, has an innovative solution for streamlining baggage claim, check-in and drop-off at home and to hotel guests on the day of their trip.

The acceleration period is scheduled to run until October. When it is completed, the start-ups will showcase their achievements at the final event in the process called Aena Ventures Demo Day where the feasibility of their application in the airport setting will be presented.