A new partnership will see Glasgow Airport testing new technologies designed to improve the passenger experience, boost productivity, and help it hit sustainability targets.

Connected Places Catapult, the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, has announced a new multi-year partnership with Glasgow Airport, to create the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab. The partnership will produce a series of demonstrations and trials of innovative technologies at the airport as the transport hub continues to regrow passenger numbers in tandem with delivering on the commitments outlined in its sustainability strategy.

This partnership will put Glasgow Airport at the heart of testing a diverse range of innovations aimed at addressing challenges facing the aviation sector. The Connected Airport Living Lab will play host to technologies, systems and processes designed to enhance passenger experience and freight management.  It aims to boost productivity and will accelerate decarbonisation of ground and air operations, including the electrification of flight, the use of hydrogen, automation data analytics and multi modal connected surface-level access.

The partnership will also support existing collaborations in the region, including the airport and Catapult’s ongoing involvement with CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland), which is working with NHS Scotland to build the first national drone network for the transportation of essential medicines, bloods and other medical supplies throughout Scotland, including to remote communities.

Central to the Connected Airport Living Lab will be a holistic vision of the airport as a highly innovative net zero place that plays an important part in developing the city-region’s skills-base and full economic potential. The Catapult will use its global reach to highlight international examples of airports successfully integrating amenities such as university campuses, entertainment venues and even vertical farms into their offering.

The Catapult is directing millions of pounds of Innovate UK funding into the collaboration, which sees Glasgow Airport named as the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab. The five-year partnership will pioneer the approach and plans are in place to roll out the model to other airports as it succeeds.

Andy Cliffe, chief executive officer of AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow Airport, said: “New technologies have the power to transform the experience of everyone who interacts with the airport. As passenger numbers continue to recover after the pandemic, we want to develop a more inclusive passenger experience and as Scotland’s largest cargo airport by freight value, there is an opportunity to grow the volume of imports and exports moving through Glasgow.

“With those opportunities, making Glasgow Airport the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab will put us at the forefront of new developments that can make journeys and freight movements smoother. This partnership also aligns with our own sustainability commitments to balance the undoubted economic and social benefits the airport delivers with our climate change responsibilities.”   

Image: Glasgow Airport/ Connected Places Catapult