Are you an airline or industry partner that dreams of an entirely digital industry? Do you want to be part of a dynamic group of like-minded individuals that builds the future?
Join us and take part in brainstorming and developing ideas that will pave the way for incorporating digitalization in aviation. Together we will work on ideas that will potentially become projects and industry standards.



IATA Think Tank

Our Think Tanks are ideation groups comprised of strategic thought leaders from across the aviation industry. Under the guidance of an advisory council, the team works together to develop new initiatives that could become standards to shape the future of the airline industry. The objective is to enable industry transformation and strategic change with innovative ideas.

A Think Tank is typically a 9-month long activity, which results in the development of a white paper and the presentation of the idea by the team at the relevant IATA Symposium covering that area of activity.

The Digital Think Tank focused on digitalization and more specifically the following three topics:

  • Trust Me, Know My Needs: the customer will have their needs met throughout their journey, thanks to this envisioned process of providing easily verifiable credentials. The customer (or delegated authority, such as a parent or caregiver) will store these credentials within their digital wallet, which proves and unlocks entitlement to a specific service and/or set of offerings.
  • Addressing Extreme Look-to-Book Ratios: providing a portfolio of approaches to enable airlines to address extreme look-to book ratios, like: API monitoring and subsequent techniques to manage traffic, offer repositories and a variety of additions to and evolutions of the standards and documentation for specific shopping use cases.
  • Metaverse: exploring the metaverse and its impact on aviation.

Read the Digital Think Tank white paper 2022 (pdf).


Shaping the Future of Airline Retailing

The AIR Think Tank was initiated in 2018, building on the success of its predecessor, the Simplifying the Business (StB) Think Tank. The StB Think Tank ran for six years and was based on the StB program. When the StB program was closed in 2017, the intent was to maintain the Think Tank but change the scope. That is when the AIR Think Tank was created.

AIR Think Tank 2021

The AIR Think Tank focused on retail and distribution topics. The team worked on the following ideas:

Clairvoyant: Foreseeing demand and supply of goods and services by considering time of day, traveler profile, routine, and preferences to better meet customer needs.
Construct-o-matic: Deconstructing the travel industry into “lego-style” building blocks of capabilities to enable a more flexibility, remove barriers, and provide a resilient end-to-end experience for the customer.
Window of the future: Simplify and enhance the travel shopping experience by moving away from complex shop, price, book, pay, ticket processes, towards a form of retail built around customer’s needs, desires, aspirations, and dreams.

Read the AIR Think Tank white paper 2021 (pdf)

Digital and Data Think Tank 2021

The just-launched Digital and Data Think Tank focused on different areas of digitalization. The team worked on the following ideas:

Customer first: Create a truly customer-centric traveler’s journey where the customer, enabled by technology, can in his or her travel and retail experience enjoy maximum benefit with minimal effort.
Shopping data: By leveraging the future airline capabilities based on offers and orders only, and by linking legacy and new sources of data (previously not available to airlines), a powerful data architecture can provide better tailored service and added value to the flying public and the airline ecosystem.
AI and environment: Airlines are equipped to track, manage, and eliminate their environmental impact using AI and digital technology.

Read the Digital and Data Think Tank white Paper 2021 (pdf)

Financial Think Tank 2021

Scope: Cash Management and Payments
The Financial Think Tank focused on two ideas:

Central Bank Digital Currency in airline retailing.

Foreign currency exchange opportunities in the world of 100% offers and orders


  • Airlines: Copa Airlines, Etihad, Finnair, Hahn Air, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, United Airlines, Emirates, KLM, Swiss and Turkish
  • Partners: Amadeus, Kantox, Mastercard, Visa, UATP, Worldpay

White Paper

The 2021 Financial Think Tank recently closed and completed the white paper ready for download now! The team brainstormed ideas focusing on payments and currency. More specifically, the ideas the team worked on were: Central bank digital currencies in airline retailing and Foreign currency exchange opportunities in the world of 100% offers and orders.

Read the Financial Think Tank white paper 2021 (pdf)


In addition to the white paper, the team also created videos to further discuss the ideas in the paper. Since there was no physical World Financial Symposium in 2021, the team still felt that the white paper would be better supplemented by the videos and presentation of these ideas virtually.

Access the Central Bank Digital Currency in Airline Retailing video.

Access the Foreign Currency Exchange Opportunities in the world of Orders and Offers video.

AIR Think Tank 2020

The 2020 edition of the AIR Think Tank refocused its scope to support the industry during the COVID-19 crisis. The team worked on three ideas that are elaborated in the 2020 AIR Think Tank White Paper:

Customer as a reference: Building off the TrulyMe idea from the 2019 AIR Think Tank, this concept leverages technology advances made by the One ID project and extends the use of the technology from facilitation use cases to distribution.
Emerging products and services: This idea looks at retailing in general, with two driving objectives: 1- facilitate the onboarding and integration of API providers (including start-ups) by airlines and 2- improve the retailing capacity of airlines (not limited to ancillaries, but all kinds of products).
Trust and resiliency: Focuses on building customer confidence in the retail experience. The intent is to provide customers with choice and transparency through further unbundling and travel flexibility, but still (re)building a solid revenue optimization model.

Read the AIR Think Tank white paper 2020 (pdf)

The 2019 AIR Think Tank edition focused on three key ideas:

Project Lemonade: focused on extending industry capability to re-accommodate passengers during irregular operations while using real-time requests and response processes.
Project Robot: aimed to alleviate challenges related to high look-to-book ratios by decoupling the offer request from the offer creation.
Project TrulyMe: aimed to allow travelers to share their contact information and travel preferences with any travel distributor or travel supplier with one click.

Read the AIR Think Tank white paper 2019 (pdf)

The 2018 AIR Think Tank edition focused on four key ideas:

Project DNA: focused on the ability if IATA to become a digital certification authority so that all business partners could be properly identified.

Project Honeymoon: aimed to redefine the concept od codeshare and evolve the commercial agreements between carriers in a NDC and ONE Order world.

Project Husky aimed to establish a customer-centric digital travel ecosystemto connect airlines, travel agents, hotels and other retailers where APIs are used as the basic building blocks.

Project Panini: aimed to dramatically simplify the process of distributing and using vouchers by enabling passengers to use their boarding pass to pay for these services.

Read the AIR Think Tank 2018 white paper (pdf).

Focus on Think Tanks

The Think Tank usually runs for nine months, starting in January and concluding in September. The team is initially facilitated through an ideation session where they brainstorm ideas. These ideas are further developed throughout the year.

The outcome of the annual Think Tank is an industry white paper, complemented by prototypes or proof of concepts that demonstrate the case for change.

Both aim to stimulate conversation and lead to potential projects that translate into new standards and industry change. For example, the New Distribution Capability – a major industry game changer – was conceived in a Think Tank. The idea was articulated in an industry white paper and built into a project that became an industry standard. 


The members of the Think Tank include interested airlines, partners and other industry representatives with relevant expertise in the Think Tank topic. All members have a natural innovative mindset and shared enthusiasm for industry progress.

The key benefits of participating in a Think Tank include the ability to be at the forefront of industry innovation and transformation. It also includes the ability to work on ideas in a team of experienced like-minded strategic thinkers.