AAAE Announces Airport Innovation Awards for Large and Medium/Small Hub Airports

The Airport Innovation Accelerator – established by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) as a hub for innovation to drive creative approaches and build airports of the future – has selected San Diego International Airport (SAN), San Diego, CA, to receive the Large Hub Airport Innovation Award and Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, NY, to receive the Medium/Small Hub Airport Innovation Award. The awards were presented to SAN and ROC officials today at the 4th Annual Airport Innovation Forum in Atlanta.

“Airports are embracing innovation and deploying creative solutions like never before, and San Diego International Airport and Greater Rochester International Airport are clear leaders in the field,” AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli said.

The Airport Innovation Awards were established by the Airport Innovation Accelerator to honor innovative developments that are a model for airports around the country. To best recognize innovation across aviation, the award has been split into two categories: Large Hub and Medium/Small Hub.

SAN features two unique environmental innovations: its air conditioning condensate water collection and its Good Traveler carbon-offset programs. The former captures water that has dripped onto the airfield, posing safety and run-off risks, and recycles it for non-potable water uses. The Good Traveler program – which has already been adopted by other airports – allows the purchase of credits to offset air travel. SAN is also the home of the Airport Innovation Lab, which is a working terminal space where pre-existing ideas can be tested and accelerated, potentially leading to contracts with SAN, as well as entrée to other airports.

“Our innovation focus is informed by the unique characteristics of this airport,” said San Diego Airport Authority President & CEO Kimberly J. Becker. “Being right next to San Diego Bay drives our commitment to environmental stewardship. And operating on a small, 661-acre footprint drives us to think of new ways to fund necessary improvements, while always enhancing the passenger experience.”

ROC is transforming and enhancing the terminal, inside and out, to create a 21st Century, high-tech, smart facility that best serves the business and economic needs of travelers. These innovations include installation of facial recognition and object left behind technology, assistive technology for enhanced airport communications and the creation of a passenger information network that introduces passengers to the option of viewing gate cameras live on their mobile devices from anywhere in the terminal to reduce gate hugging and increase sales per enplanement (SPE).

“As the birthplace of cutting-edge technologies for over a century, Monroe County is no stranger to innovation,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “We see that still today, with local companies growing, investing and expanding the horizon of what we consider possible. At ROC, we’re proud to make a substantial investment in our next-generation airport, which will continue to meet the needs of local businesses and create more jobs. This award is a testament to our vision for the airport and I thank the AAAE for the incredible recognition.”