The Atlanta airport's annual marketing and design innovation competition called ATL Thinks! this year enlists early-stage startups to tackle challenges including growing the airport's loyalty program, helping passengers navigate around construction, designing an airport apiary and figuring out how airports can produce renewable energy from passengers' footsteps through specially-designed tile.
Hartsfield-Jackson sustainability manager Liza Milagro said the airport plans to open an apiary in the spring, and wants it to be a commercial-grade honey house. Delta Air Lines put beehives at its headquarters near the airport earlier this year.
Hartsfield-Jackson says the winning team in each division can launch its proposal as a pilot with the airport and retain the intellectual property.
One of last year’s competition winners, Goodr, launched a pilot program for food waste management at the airport and another competition winner helped redesign the airport’s app, according to officials.
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport including Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, one of the world's largest carriers, and Hartsfield-Jackson, ranked for years as the world's busiest airport. She has covered airlines for more than 15 years, graduated from Harvard and has a master's degree from Northwestern.