ACCELERATE@IATA, the first industry-owned travel tech accelerator where airlines and startups converge for innovation.

Accelerate@IATA is a startup accelerator lead by IATA and the Silicon Valley innovation platform 'Plug and Play', created to help airlines get access to new technologies and cutting-edge startups. While the program's original focus was on digital retailing with a successful "Batch 0" test batch of 7 startups (pdf) helping airlines to adopt and scale NDC, it is now shifting to the industry restart priorities, such as stimulating demand, enhancing passenger confidence, and increasing operational efficiency.

Accelerating the Industry

IATA is committed to supporting airlines in their restart activities including restoring passenger confidence, rebuilding connectivity, facilitating new types of partnerships while accommodating and adapting to health authorities’ requirements for passenger safety. Supplying greater speed, agility, and technical expertise, Accelerate@IATA is intended to stimulate new solutions to support airlines in these activities.

The Program Roadmap

  1. ACCELERATE: The primary objectives are to find solutions for airlines that accelerate standard development & adoption of standards, and stimulate competition to bring new entrants to the market.
  2. IDENTIFY & SELECT RELEVANT STARTUPS: Collaboratively, the partners define the focus of the program and select the startups that best fit their needs.
  3. MAP SOLUTION & DEMAND: During the 1-month program, IATA subject matter experts help the startups to develop innovative solutions to meet airline requirements and take care of the onboarding work, freeing up airline resources.
  4. IMPLEMENTATION: The goal is to start a pilot and implementation between new entrants and airline partners at the end of the program.


The objective of the Accelerate@IATA program is to quickly facilitate pilots and implementations between airlines and startups with interesting solutions and proven track records. For 2020, Accelerate@IATA will run 4 30-day ‘segments’ tailored to help airlines with their restart goals. Each segment will be limited to up to 8 airlines and 5 – 10 startups. Our accelerator supports selected startups through education, mentorship, and, potentially, with financing from corporate partners.

Find out more in the Accelerate@IATA brochure (pdf)

Join the program

To join the program or if you need more information, please contact

Benefits of the program

For Airlines:

  • Access to global, stage-agnostic startups and technology providers that have the potential to increase airline revenues, reduce costs, increase operational efficiency and build brand loyalty
  • Savings on innovation costs compared to internal development
  • Access to new technologies that meet the industry standards.
  • Startups and technologies double vetted by IATA and Plug and Play to ensure they meet industry guidance/standards, and that the startups are financially viable.
  • Focus on broad Industry Restart initiatives, tailored to airlines’ restart plans
  • Shorter program reducing time to market
  • Dedicated Accelerate Innovation Partner and Project Manager throughout the whole cycle

For Startups:

  • Access to IATA’s global network of airlines and value chain partners for pilot and implementation opportunities
  • Access to expertise and market knowledge
  • Industry mentorship

How the program works

The accelerator enables a close collaboration with airlines and startups. It will operate up to 8 segments for a period of 1 month each, around the industry restart priorities.

Segments will comprise the following:

  • Deep Dive Session – airlines will listen to the startups' pitches
  • Survey - airlines will rank the startups and decide which ones they want to hear more about (up to 3)
  • 1:1 Call - airline, startup, and Accelerate@IATA innovation team partner will set up a call to hear more about the startups’ solutions
  • Selection - airline choses which startup(s) they want to work with
  • Curriculum - airline informs the innovation team partner of any weak spots in the solution. IATA subject matter experts work with the startup to improve their solution and provide insights into the industry. Thus, the Accelerate@IATA team does the onboarding work instead of using airline resources.
  • Weekly calls - Accelerate@IATA innovation team partner will set up weekly calls to ensure deadlines are being met and the solution is progressing quickly
  • Pilot/Implementation phase - after the 30-day program, the goal is to kick-off a pilot/implementation between the airline and startup. An IATA project manager may be assigned to help facilitate this.