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Sabrina LoPiccolo
Senior Communications Specialist
T: 619.400.2454
M: 619.929.9277

Nicole Hall
Senior Communications Specialist
T: 619.400.2859
M: 858.531.2863

After hours and weekends please email or call the Airport Communications Center at 858.531.2863


Airport Authority Seeking Applicants for Its Innovation Lab’s Inaugural Acceleration Program

Opportunities Will Focus on Airport Parking and Simplifying the Airport Journey

Monday, April 30, 2018

SAN DIEGO – April 30, 2018 – The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, in concert with its Innovation Lab’s third-party operator, Detecon Innovation Institute, has released the first two “opportunity statements” to solicit applicants to participate in its accelerator program.

For more information and to apply, visit

One opportunity will focus on airport parking while the other will zero in on ways to assist passengers with unique needs to simplify the journey through the airport.

Ideally, applicants will have prototype innovations close to ready to test in the airport environment. Those selected will participate in a 16-week program to prepare them to present to the Airport Authority with the possibility of getting a contract and gaining experience for work in other airports.

“In general, we want innovations that improve the airport experience for everyone,” explained Rick Belliotti, the Airport Authority’s Director of Innovation and Small Business Development. “Our driving goal is about enhancing customer satisfaction and the overall airport experience.”

The unique Lab was launched to reduce barriers for innovators to break into the aviation industry. Its goals are to enhance the passenger experience, improve operational efficiency and decrease costs for the Airport Authority.

“Successful innovations from the parking opportunity will add value to the airport parking experience to attract and retain customers,” Belliotti said. “The customer service opportunity will pursue innovative solutions to reduce complexity and help people in whatever ways they need to more easily traverse the airport from curb to gate and vice versa.”

The Airport Authority established the Innovation Lab in part of the former Commuter Terminal, which was decommissioned in June 2015. The 3,500-square-foot space offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, all without passenger or security concerns to work around.

In January 2018, the Airport Authority engaged Detecon Innovation Institute to refine and manage the Innovation Lab as a third-party operator. Its parent, Detecon Inc., is the management consulting practice of Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile. The Institute is centered in Silicon Valley and New York, where it develops and deploys expertise in the entire innovation cycle.

In addition to being deployed at San Diego International Airport, successful innovations could be rolled out to other airports and analogous businesses, such as shopping malls, convention centers and other transportation hubs.

“San Diego International Airport is finding new ways to continue its role as an industry innovator,” said Airport Authority President/CEO Kimberly J. Becker. “We are very excited to see the Innovation Lab move towards developing real-world solutions to address existing challenges, as well as develop radical new concepts.”

Serving a record 22 million passengers in 2017, San Diego International Airport (SAN) offers nonstop services to 70 destinations in the continental U.S., Europe, Asia, Mexico and Canada. In operation since 1928, the airport is celebrating 90 years of service to the San Diego region. The airport has been managed by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority since 2003. The Airport Authority’s mission is to plan for and provide air transportation services to the region with safe, effective facilities that exceed customer expectations.


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