Emirates Airline has launched a virtual competition for international start-ups, companies and organisations of all sizes to submit solutions to reinvigorate the consumer travel industry.

    The ‘traveller wellbeing’ challenge is open to submissions from international businesses – from start-ups to corporates – whose innovative, market-ready solutions will improve health and safety standards for consumer travel and restore confidence to global travel markets.

    Aviation X Lab spokesperson Amna Al Redha said: “Global aviation and travel are key industries that generate tremendous economic and social value. The pandemic has hit these industries hard, but it also presents opportunities to rethink existing industry practices or offer travellers new products and services.

    “We’re calling on the international business community to bring their innovative market solutions to us so that we can inspire greater confidence in the industry and enable people to do what they’re desperate to do again and travel the world in the safest, and most sustainable way possible.”

    Submissions are not limited to the traveller journey; the Aviation X Lab, an initiative led by Emirates Airline, Thales, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation and Airbus, are looking at solutions and products that the traveller can continue using after they arrive at their destination.

    From an unlimited field of applicants, a top eight will be selected to pitch directly to the Aviation X Lab Board, following a three-day virtual workshop with the AREA 2071 and the Aviation X Lab team which focuses on the requirements of the world-renowned brands and prepping the teams for the final pitch.

    Successful submissions will be determined by the Aviation X Lab Board, which comprises a representative from each founding partner entity, based on six base criteria: the fit to the challenge, market readiness, scalability, degree of innovation, credibility to deliver, and impact of the product. From the final eight, selected entities will work in collaboration with Emirates to roll-out their travel solutions across Dubai in the coming months.

    The aviation challenge is part of AREA 2071’s efforts in creating unique programs and industry specific challenges in collaboration with government and private organisations to disrupt and further innovate strategic sectors in Dubai. AREA 2071, an innovation ecosystem led by the Dubai Future Foundation, further connects and creates synergies between likeminded individuals and organisations, driving Dubai’s innovation landscape.

    Saeed Al Falasi, executive director, Future Design and Acceleration at the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) said: “DFF has always held the mandate of future foresight and supporting key sectors to grow and innovate through employing emerging technologies.

    “Through our innovation ecosystem, AREA 2071, and our ability to curate tailored programs, DFF not only supports organisations in analysing and identifying their challenges, but also connects them with the right start-ups and solution providers to transform those challenges into innovative idea.

    “Through our collaborating with the Aviation X Lab we aim to bring about much needed innovative solutions that would revive travellers’ confidence and trust in the industry.”

    He added: “The challenge launched by Emirates Airline and through the Aviation X Lab is a key opportunity for local and global companies to quickly pivot and develop innovative solutions that not only ensure the safety and health of travellers but also redesign the whole aviation industry, allowing one of the most dynamic sectors to pick up even stronger and soar high again.”

    Interested applicants can submit their proposals by 3 August and sign up to a webinar to find out more by visiting  https://area2071.ae/traveler-wellbeing/