Geneva Airport is taking part in a hackathon involving six other international airports


On the initiative of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, seven European airports are organising the {re}coding aviation hackathon. During this event, to be held in Berlin from 16 to 18 June, developers will be challenged to develop new applications that will improve passengers’ travel experience. In addition to Schiphol, six other airports will be making data available: Stockholm (Swedavia), Frankfurt (Fraport), Geneva, London Gatwick, Munich and Copenhagen. {Re}coding aviation is the first major international airport hackathon

Increasingly, airline passengers today travel from A to B via a third airport. This can cause problems if there is a delay or baggage has to be checked in again. By collaborating and sharing data, airports become better able to channel such passenger flows efficiently and prevent delays and inconvenience to passengers. By organising {re}coding aviation, the seven airports hope to develop practical applications that will help to improve the service to passengers, even when they have an indirect flight.

Participants are free to use the available APIs and datasets with applications such as AI, IoT and sensors, chatbots, robotics and wearables. Among other things, flight and waiting time data and indoor navigation APIs will be available. Developers are challenged to look beyond the standard mobile applications and booking sites. In this way, the organisation of the hackathon will encourage developers, designers and other interested parties to redefine the passenger travel experience with innovative ideas. By sharing data, the airports want to further optimise their collaboration and stimulate the use of open data.

During previous hackathons organised by the different airports, applications have been devised that have been further developed and actually brought into use. For example, Fraport uses FRAnky the Chatbot, a Facebook chatbot that answers questions from travellers. Schiphol is currently working on the implementation of TimeFlies, a concept devised during the Dutch Open Hackathon 2016. TimeFlies provides travellers with up-to-date information on waiting times, flight times and travel times.

294.2 million passengers

The seven airports participating in the hackathon – held on ‘neutral’ ground in Berlin –

handle a combined total of 294.2 million passengers per year. Approximately 40 percent of journeys involve taking a connecting flight. In addition to the seven airports, Sita and Kone are associated with the hackathon as technology partners and will be making APIs available. T-Systems and ACI Europe are associated with the hackathon as supporting partners. 


Four themes

The hackathon is divided into four themes – Life before the airport, Life at the airport, Life in between airports and Life after the airport – which together cover all aspects of a plane trip, from booking the journey to the journey itself and from passport control to arrival at the destination. Each theme has its own specific challenges.

‘{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. Collaborating in this way enables us to improve passengers’ travel experience,’ says Christiaan Hen, Innovation Manager at Schiphol. ‘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 focus on cooperation between airports will also ultimately bring about a better traveller experience.’

The overall winner of the hackathon will win a luxury trip to the leading European startup event, Slush, which takes place in Helsinki from 30 November to 1 December. The winners of the various themes will win a helicopter flight. The participating partners will also award prizes for their personal favourites.