Our best-ever Future Travel Experience events in Europe – the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing (Dublin, 23-25 May 2023) – concluded with the FTE Innovate Awards. There were three categories: Finnair, KLM and Lufthansa were shortlisted for Most Innovative Airline Initiative; Aeroporti di Roma, Avinor, FraAlliance and Hamad International Airport were shortlisted for Most Innovative Airport Initiative; and DRCT, Lufthansa Innovation Hub, MPASS and UCPlaces were shortlisted for Best New CX Concept. Each of the shortlisted entrants pitched on-stage in Dublin in an effort to impress our judges – Nick Cole, CEO, daa International; Charu Jain, Senior Vice President Merchandising & Innovation, Alaska Airlines; and Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future – and our audience, whose all-important votes decided who won. The ceremony also saw the presentation of the FTE Startup Innovation Award, which was voted for following a Startup Pitch Session sponsored by Royal Air Maroc.
Best New CX Concept – UCPlaces
Uri Sperling, Founder & CEO, UCPlaces, collected the Best New CX Concept award. UCPlaces was recognised for its innovative, fully-branded, GPS-guided tours, which passengers can take on their schedule, in their preferred language and directly from within the airline mobile app. In his pitch, Sperling explained that UCPlaces helps airlines expand beyond traditional ancillary products. UCPlaces is targeting three issues:
- “Airline mobile apps are only used by 15% of their customers, and even then, only for a very short period of time.”
- “Marketing budget is spent on content people are actively trying to avoid.”
- “Ticket sales are mostly done in a red ocean full of competitors.”
“By offering valuable content and features that customers are actively looking for, you get their undivided attention for a long period of time, in your blue ocean where you can provide your targeted offerings,” said Sperling.
Most Innovative Airport Initiative – Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport received the Most Innovative Airport Initiative award, which was collected by Haider Arif Hayat, Manager IT – Enterprise Info, Architecture & Analytics. The airports was recognised for its successful Digital Twin platform.
In his pitch, Haider Arif Hayat explained that the Digital Twin is pioneering the future of airport management and tackling longstanding issues of sub-optimal decision-making, due to insufficient information, while accelerating the adoption of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to make complex data analysis into simple recommendations, ushering in a new era of efficiency. The programme also incorporates data from ground handlers and airlines into the airport Digital Twin, which is a breakthrough in aviation stakeholders working together to drive benefits for all parties.
Most Innovative Airline Initiative – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KLM was recognised for its sustainability programme, with Arlette van der Veer, Senior Manager Radical Innovation, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, collecting the award are delivering a pitch on the ‘The Bold Moves initiative’, which resulted in the eventual creation of the Sustainable Flight Challenge that is now orchestrated by SkyTeam.
Key figures include:
- “15% better than ourselves: Operational improvements (route and maintenance optimisation, eco-piloting, weight reduction) measured through average CO2 intensity (CO2/RTK) of thrust-specific fuel consumption (TSFC) flights compared to our own baselines.”
- “32.7% better than industry average (28.9% excluding Sustainable Aviation Fuel): Through technological improvements (64% operated with latest-generation aircraft) and use of uplifted Sustainable Aviation Fuel, measured through average CO2 intensity (CO2/RTK).”
- “4.4% total CO2 reduction (while increasing RTK production by 20.6%): On average per flight over the 19 TSFC flights compared to our own baselines.”
Startup Innovation Award – Pawtrip
Pawtrip was voted winner of the Startup Innovation Award, which was collected by its Founder & CEO Nicole Caba. The venture-backed startup offers enterprise-grade airline software to manage the entire pet reservation ecosystem, while offering ancillary revenue opportunities. Pawtrip’s Pet Reservation System gives airlines an end-to-end system for reserving pet online, including pets in the cabin, service animals, excess baggage, and cargo.
FTE Innovate Awards to return in 2024
The FTE Innovate Awards will once again be at the epicentre of the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events in 2024. Next year’s awards will again be open to all airlines, airports, vendors and startups working to advance the air transport industry with exciting innovations, so we will want to hear from you.