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Airline group seeks Israeli tech to improve travel

British Airways’s parent company, IAG, searching for sabra startups to join accelerator program for aviation industry

British Airways, travelers (Courtesy)
British Airways, travelers (Courtesy)

Sometimes taking a flight can be a torment and arriving at a gate a real odyssey. Many flight companies are investing significant amounts of money to improve their services, but the new ideas are never enough. For this reason, International Airlines Group, one of the world’s largest airline groups, has created Hangar 51 — a global startup accelerator program to scout for new ideas in Israel among other places.

IAG — the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling — is eager to attract Israeli startups to its program. “The wealth of start-ups and innovation in the market makes Israel a key target for Hangar 51,” IAG said in an emailed statement. “IAG is keen to discover and work with disruptive Israeli start-ups” that can help “transform the aviation industry.”

The program will focus on four areas: to develop solutions to make customers’ journeys through the airport easier; to create new digital tools and processes to speed up and simplify the business; to enable the use of data to see how to increase customer satisfaction; and any idea other idea startups may have that can improve the client experience.

“We’re launching this programme to attract the best global start-ups to the aviation industry. We want them to tell us what we don’t know,” Glenn Morgan, IAG’s head of digital transformation, said in the statement. “This initiative is a great opportunity for early stage businesses to fast-track their innovative ideas by working closely with IAG. We’ll fully support them through mentoring and funding to improve customer journeys with new disruptive and innovative ideas.”

IAG's Hangar 51 Accelearator program (Courtesy)
IAG’s Hangar 51 Accelearator program (Courtesy)

The 10-week accelerator program, which will be based in the IAG’S London headquarters, will enable startups looking to enter the aviation industry to try out their products globally and get mentoring from the group’s senior management team. This will help them speed up their product development, gain access to customer insights and other experts and get access to funding from IAG and L Marks, an early-stage investor, the statement said.

Companies will be able to submit their application to join Hangar 51 by the end of November 6.

Formed in January 2011, IAG is a Spanish-registered company with shares traded on the London Stock Exchange and Spanish stock exchanges. L Marks, founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, helps large corporations that seek to innovate connect with startups that have disruptive technologies, products and services in a variety of industry sectors.

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