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Innovation Lab

San Diego International Airport's Innovation Lab is a ground-breaking collaborative environment where companies, innovators and airport executives work together to create and test new ideas to drive airport innovation and improve the passenger experience. Successful ideas have the opportunity to be implemented at SAN, other airports, and even in analogous industries like malls, hotels, convention centers, etc.

Application for our summer 2018 Batch is currently open until May 31st!

Why innovate in the airport industry?

$ 150 B*
$ 7.97**
Global revenue airport industry 2016
Estimated annual growth rates for passenger traffic from 2017 - 2036
Non-aeronautical revenue per passenger per trip


​Long sales cycles not conducive to test innovations
Barriers to entry and airport experience usually required
Highly fragmented market

*Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Economics Report (2017); Statista; IATA - Global Passenger Survey (2017)

...the Innovation lab is here to help

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority offers a unique setting for innovators to overcome the challenges of the airport industry: With possible access to test your idea with 22 million annual passengers on the second busiest airport with one runway in the world, San Diego is the perfect place to validate ideas for the future of airports. The program starts twice a year for 4-5 teams. In 16-weeks the participants are guided from prototype to presenting in front of the airport authority. Successful projects have the opportunity to be implemented at San Diego International Airport

  • Empowering innovators

    With 3,500 sq ft of office space in a Terminal and the possibility to test with real passengers, innovators can work on new airport related products or services in a real-world environment

  • Guided collaboration

    Innovators, companies and industry executives and experts come together to help you make your idea work

  • Sprint set-up

    In workshops, 1:1 mentoring, expert talks and input sessions you will learn how to develop and pitch your ideas for airports specifically

  • Scale it

    SAN can help you get access to other major U.S. airports to scale working products nationwide

All for no equity!

What to expect

  • Workspace

    Gain access to our 3,500 sq ft terminal-like space including office space

  • Testing

    Test your idea in the lab and possibly in in the real airport environment with 22M passengers per year

  • Bidding

    Profit from getting to know the airport selection process inside out and learn how to shorten the sales cycle

  • Connections

    Benefit from the connections to airport executives, not only in San Diego

  • Networking

    Experience our 1:1 mentoring and ask all questions you might have

How to apply

  • Do we fit?

    For our summer 2018 Batch we're looking specifically for innovators in the "Parking" and "Customer Service" area:

    • Parking: The Authority is seeking innovative solutions that will add value to the parking customer experience and/or increase the efficiency of parking
    • Customer service: The Authority is seeking innovative solutions to reduce complexity and help by providing people with the assistance they want and need
  • Go to f6s

    Follow the link below to our f6s application page and hand in all necessary information

  • Additional questions?

    Check out the additional information below or write us at innovate[at]

SAN Innovation Lab Program Information.pdf

Opportunity for Parking Innovation at SAN.pdf

Opportunity for Customer Service Innovation at SAN.pdf

Example Pitch SAN Innovation Lab.pdf

Apply now!

Please consider that all submitted information and records may become public pursuant to the California Public Records Act and each submission is subject to the conditions stated below.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (“Airport Authority”) is a public entity and subject to the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”). (Cal. Gov. Code §6250, et seq.) Applicants should understand that all information and records submitted in connection with the Airport Authority’s SAN Innovation Lab invitation to apply, are potentially subject to disclosure in accordance with the CPRA. Accordingly, please consider carefully what information and records you choose to share with the Airport Authority as part of your application. All applications will become the property of the Airport Authority upon receipt. The Applicant must specifically identify, in writing, all copyrighted material, trade secrets or other proprietary information that the Applicant claims are exempt from disclosure pursuant to the CPRA. By submitting an application with claimed exemptions, the Applicant further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Airport Authority and its Board, officers, officials, directors, employees, agents, and volunteers, from any claims, liability or damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs, against the Airport Authority and to defend any actions brought against the Airport Authority for its refusal to disclose such material, trade secrets or other proprietary information to any requesting party. *There is no guarantee that an Applicant will be interviewed and no guarantee that those interviewed will be awarded an opportunity to work in the SAN Innovation Lab. The Airport Authority reserves the right to select the Applicant contingent upon the Applicant’s satisfactory completion of all conditions. The President/CEO reserves the right to reject any and all applications; to waive any informalities or irregularities in any application received; to waive any requirement of the application documents as to the submitting procedure; to revise the invitation to apply prior to the time for final submission at any time; to withdraw this invitation to apply at any time; to extend the time for submittal of applications; to conduct or not conduct interviews; and to reschedule interviews scheduled. By submitting an application, the Applicant agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Airport Authority and its Board, officers, officials, directors, employees, agents, and volunteers for any claims of copyright, patent or trademark infringement arising out of, caused directly or indirectly by the acts or omissions of the Applicant in relation to this invitation to apply and the application. Each party responding to the invitation to apply shall bear all of its own costs and expenses, direct and indirect, associated with or related to any action taken in response to this invitation to apply, and the Airport Authority shall not be responsible in any manner for such costs and expenses.