New technologies aimed at making air travel greener and improving passengers’ experiences are to be explored through a project at Glasgow airport. 

The airport has been named the UK’s first ‘Connected Airport Living Lab’, and will now play host to a trials and demonstrations of innovations designed to address challenges facing the aviation sector. 

The aim is to boost productivity and accelerate decarbonisation of ground and air operations through new the electrification of flight, the use of hydrogen and the collection of data. 

In partnership with Connected Places Catapult, an offshoot of the UK Government’s Innovate UK agency, the Living Lab will also support ongoing collaborations in the area. 

These include an NHS Scotland project to build the first national drone network explore the transportion of essential medicines, bloods and other medical supplies across the country and to remote communities. 

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Connected Places Catapult is directing millions of pounds of Innovate UK funding into the the five-year plan, which will pioneer a model that could be adopted by airports if it succeeds. 

 Andy Cliffe, Chief Executive Officer of AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow Airport, said: “New technologies have the power to transform the experience of everyone who interacts with the airport.  

“As passenger numbers continue to recover after the pandemic, we want to develop a more inclusive passenger experience and as Scotland’s largest cargo airport by freight value, there is an opportunity to grow the volume of imports and exports moving through Glasgow.  

With those opportunities, making Glasgow Airport the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab will put us at the forefront of new developments that can make journeys and freight movements smoother.”  

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Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director at Innovate UK, said: “Aviation is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise. Our Future Flight Challenge programme is aimed at accelerating the progress of new technologies in this sector.  

“Glasgow Airport and the Catapult are already working as part of this programme and the creation of the Living Lab will drive the testing and adoption of new technologies as we progress towards a sustainable future.”