• Travel & Hospitality

Plug and Play Program Accelerate@IATA Announces New Airline Partners and 3 Batches of Startups

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, Aug. 23, 2022 - Accelerate@IATA, a travel tech startup accelerator jointly run by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Plug and Play, is proud to announce its seven new airline partners:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Copa Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • International Airlines Group
  • Japan Airlines

Accelerate@IATA, founded in July 2019, was first focused on airline retailing and saw great success from its first batch of startups working on the New Distribution Capability, or NDC initiative. The program had to take a brief pause due to the pandemic. However, from September 2020 until the end of 2021, Accelerate@IATA focused on the industry restart priorities established by IATA, including anticipating and stimulating demand, increasing passenger confidence, and exploring new technologies in digital health credentials and sustainability.

The opportunity to expand the scope of the program was vital to ensuring Accelerate@IATA remained relevant and beneficial for startups and airlines as they navigated 2021. It was also crucial that IATA and Plug and Play were willing to put resources towards the program during the pandemic.

"Plug and Play has been doing everything we can to support the travel and hospitality industry over the past few years. Last year, we invested in more travel tech startups than ever and continued to run travel-focused accelerator programs, with virtual and in-person components, when possible, in Silicon Valley, Singapore, Vienna, and Geneva," Amir Amidi, Managing Director of Plug and Play Travel, explained.

"In Geneva, we are proud to work alongside IATA with Accelerate@IATA to educate and assist aviation startups and help airlines increase revenue and operational efficiency, reduce costs, and become more customer-centric."

According to the Q2 2022 IATA Economics report, the aviation industry is seeing positive signs regarding the number of passengers and revenue. For June 2022, the overall load was 82.4%, close to the 84.4% achieved in June 2019. Financial performance this year indicates that, based on current trends, the industry could return to profitability in 2023. There are many challenges airlines will face over the coming months, including rising fuel prices and labor shortages. The positive industry news reflects the exact sentiment of those involved with Accelerate@IATA.

"We received strong feedback from airlines that Accelerate@IATA needed to continue and support them in becoming more digitally minded, push forward IATA's digital transformation initiatives, and encourage new entrants and new technologies to help manage the changes our industry is facing. It has been really positive to see the progress of the startups and support from our Accelerate@IATA airline partners," said Stephan Copart, Head of Digital Transformation at IATA.

As mentioned, Accelerate@IATA has had seven airline partners join the program.

"We are really excited to be working with such a strong group of airlines," said Robby Toole, the Corporate Director of Accelerate@IATA. "Over the past few years, it was hard to imagine where we would be at this point. To announce our partners this year in 2022 and see their engagement with the program is a privilege for our team."

With the help of the airline partners, Accelerate@IATA has been working with startups under three different themes and will announce a fourth and final theme for the year in September. The first theme was Digital Identity B2C, including a selected group of five startups with leading decentralized digital identity products and services inside and outside the aviation industry, as well as solutions that will help airlines know their customers. These startups showcased their progress at IATA'S first Innovation Day this past May. Digital Identity B2C consisted of:



Further Network

Trust Stamp

and MATTR.

The second theme was The Future of Interlining, including:





And, Moovit.

The third theme was For Customer as the Reference: Distribution Benefits, with six startups helping airlines create more personalized offers and orders:

ZYTLYN Technologies



Euler Innovations


And, Northern Block, a Canadian-based company that has joined forces with Tykn's co-founder.

In the last week of July, these startups were invited to IATA's executive office in Geneva for a focus week to learn from IATA's experts on topics such as the Future of Airline Retailing, IATA Standards, the Airline Retailing Maturity Index, NDC Certification, and more. Startups were also connected one-on-one to relevant IATA subject matter experts.

"Because of the pandemic, this is only the third in-person focus week we have been able to run," said Kat Morse, Senior Manager of Innovation and Partnerships at IATA. "You could feel the excitement in the startups and my IATA colleagues as they both were able to focus on how the industry can be more innovative. It gives me great optimism for the future of Accelerate@IATA."

The Accelerate@IATA team and the startups in the program will be showcasing their work at IATA' symposiums, the World Financial Symposium and the World Passenger Symposium, in September and November, respectively, and more information will be published on the progress of the program in the coming months on their website: Accelerate@IATA.

If you're in the aviation industry, especially an airline, and interested in joining the program, don't hesitate to get in touch with Robby Toole tooler@external.iata.org.

About Plug and Play

Plug and Play is the leading innovation platform, connecting startups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we're present in 40+ locations across 5 continents. We offer corporate innovation programs and help our corporate partners in every stage of their innovation journey, from education to execution. We also organize startup acceleration programs and have built an in-house VC to drive innovation across multiple industries where we've invested in hundreds of successful companies including Dropbox, Guardant Health, Honey, Lending Club, N26, PayPal, and Rappi. For more information, visit