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Gatwick and six other airports to hold international hackathon

Trans-global hackathon aims to develop applications to improve air passenger experience

Gatwick airport is partnering six other airports across the world to hold a hackathon aimed at designing and developing applications to improve the passenger experience.

The Netherlands’ Schiphol airport has organised the event, and will join Gatwick, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich and Copenhagen to run the 48-hour {re}coding hackathon event in Berlin.

The airports will join forces to share data and challenge hackathon participants to develop apps that will improve passenger experiences through techniques such as managing passenger flows through airports, preventing delays and keeping travellers updated.

Schiphol’s innovation manager, Christiaan Hen, said:“{Re}coding aviation represents the first time in history that so many international airports have joined forces by opening up access to data for the development of innovative applications. The challenges faced by every airport have been made central to the themes, and this ensures that the solutions developed by the participants will be widely applicable.”

The airports will share their flight and waiting time data to help the hackathon participants to build apps that aim to solve common airport challenges across four themes – Life before the airport, Life at the airport, Life in between airports and Life after the airport.

The intention is to ensure passengers have the best travel experience possible, from booking a journey and travelling to the airport, to the journey itself and beyond.

Developers will be split into teams to tackle the subject areas, and will present their ideas to a panel of judges before a winner is decided later this month.

Gatwick has already been working to collect more airport data, and has installed more than 2,000 beacons across both its terminals to collect data and enable consumers to use augmented reality to find their way through the airport.

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Gatwick’s chief information officer, Cathal Corcoran, said: “Providing our passengers with the best possible experience as they travel through the airport is a key priority for us and by collaborating with other airports in this way, we are able to explore and push the boundaries of current passenger-facing technology.”

The airport also has an internal app that it developed for people who work at the airport, which provides staff with information about airport matters, such as flights, passenger density, local weather and transport status.

Other apps already exist to make passengers’ lives easier, such as easyJet’s mobile app that guides customers through all the stages of their journey, allowing them to book, check in and issue boarding passes, among other things. But these apps will be more effective if data is made available to them so that the information given to passengers is up to date and relevant.

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