AirAsia partners with Plug and Play accelerator program

AirAsia is heading to Silicon Valley to find “the best startups in the travel industry,” according to a report in Web in Travel. The airline is the anchor partner of the Plug and Play Travel and Hospitality accelerator.

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that connects startups to corporations and invests in over 100 companies every year. The Travel and Hospitality program runs for three months, twice a year, for twenty travel and hospitality startups chosen by its venture team, VC and corporate partners from 1,000 startup applications. The program mentors new businesses and collaborates with emerging technologies.

Through this partnership, AirAsia will be able to identify, observe and support relevant startups as they develop new products for the travel sector. Earlier this year, the low cost carrier rolled out Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES), a facial recognition-based self service check-in system that is also used to automate the boarding gate procedure.

“This partnership, the first of many to keep a finger on the pulse of innovation, will allow us to identify leading edge technologies that will help maintain our leadership in cost and customer experience and transform AirAsia from an airline into a global digital company,” said Aireen Omar, AirAsia deputy group CEO (digital, transformation and corporate services).

According to Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the implementation of biometrics technology to facilitate secure borders is the single biggest opportunity for the travel and tourism sector in 2018.

Plug and Play founder and CEO Saeed Amidi welcomed AirAsia to Silicon Valley, remarking that the airline’s expertise would be a great addition to the platform’s ecosystem. “We are here to help AirAsia engage with the most promising startups in the industry and bring new ideas into their business.”

Last month startup ID R&D announced that it has been selected to join the accelerator program for Plug and Play’s Fintech Batch. ID R&D provides proprietary voice, behavioral, and anti-spoofing biometric engines and multi-modal authentication products. The company has developed a suite of AI-based biometric capabilities for secure and convenient communications between enterprises and end-users.

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