Client Story

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Unlocking new revenue through digital transformation

As part of its ongoing digital transformation, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of Europe’s busiest airports, has developed a wide range of bespoke digital solutions – many with potential as commercial products at other airports and wider markets. With the pandemic hitting the aviation industry hard, finding new revenue streams was important for Schiphol. Our team worked with Schiphol to identify operational challenges and then investigated the most promising digital solutions, applying our proven framework for commercialisation to unlock value from the best opportunities.

Together with Schiphol, we set up the organisation that will run the process and guide the first projects through the new innovation pipeline. With expertise in transport, innovation and commercialisation, our team delivered pragmatic support grounded in deep business understanding. Based on our recommendations, Schiphol built a commercialisation operation from scratch, with five high-potential projects already in development in less than a year.

The first of these – an AI-driven solution to optimise plane turnaround times – is already being tested for scalability outside of Schiphol Amsterdam. Over the next five years, solutions like this are anticipated to generate vital post-pandemic revenues for the airport.

Key successes

  • Applied digital and commercialisation expertise to generate new revenues from bespoke digital solutions
  • Deployed a proven framework for commercialisation to establish a pipeline of viable opportunities from scratch
  • Set up a commercialisation organisation and playbook to realise the opportunities and provided expert support for its first projects
  • Enabled Schiphol to advance on its target of new revenues over the next five years

Discovering the best opportunities for value creation

The Schiphol team and our experts began with an in-depth analysis of the airport industry, the wider market and the innovation landscape. This informed our initial scan of some 50 promising digital solutions developed by Schiphol. These included an AI-driven product to optimise plane turnaround times and a bespoke app to enable operations teams to work more efficiently. Other solutions included a ‘taxibot’ (a lower-carbon way to transfer passengers to planes rather than buses) and technology to counter the impact of plane noise on buildings near the airport.

PA’s assessment of the shortlisted solutions was impressive. PA showed real understanding of the unique selling points of each solution and how these would play out in different markets.”
Head of Scale-Up and Commercialisation at Schiphol

The team’s assessment delivered a shortlist of five top contenders. A deeper dive enabled Schiphol to determine the value potential of each, begin to define an investment strategy and develop a go-to-market and business plan for each solution.

Ingenuity timeline

March 2020

As the pandemic begins, Schiphol’s revenue falls from €1,615m in 2019 to €688m in 2020.

January 2021

Schiphol enlists PA to begin shaping a new commercialisation strategy.

February to March 2021

With Schiphol’s team, we assessed more than 50 solutions for potential commercialisation, resulting in a short list of five top contenders.

April 2021

Our team helped to design the organisation to deliver the strategy.

May to November 2021

The organisation was brought to life as the team guided the first solutions through the commercialisation process. 2022: The first solution was pitched to Eindhoven airport as part of the scale-up activity.

Four months to build an organisation

With its technology portfolio taking shape, Schiphol needed a new organisation to manage the commercialisation process. Our team defined the capabilities required, designed the organisation itself and ensured it was positioned correctly within the business for maximum impact. Then the team helped recruit and onboard the business development specialists Schiphol needed. Within just four months, Schiphol had a clear framework for commercialisation and an organisation to run it. Now it was time to put these plans into action.

Testing the five ideas 

Over the following six months, our team provided expert support, guiding the Schiphol team as they shepherded the first five solutions through the commercialisation process. This included helping develop the solutions into viable products and testing their scalability with other airports in the Schiphol group.

PA’s style of working is unwaveringly collaborative. This means that, by the time we began implementing our commercialisation strategy, we felt a real sense of ownership.”
Head of Scale-Up and Commercialisation at Schiphol

From ambition to action

In less than a year, our team enabled Schiphol to get an ambitious commercialisation process up and running from scratch and identify five solutions with the potential to generate significant revenues. The airport has already pitched the first of these – the ‘deep turnaround’ AI solution – to Eindhoven Airport in Eindhoven, The Netherlands as a key step to achieving full commercialisation.

PA brought clarity and structure to the challenge of building a pipeline of viable commercial opportunities. Their high-quality analysis and business understanding were instrumental in winning the support of the full leadership team. Everyone is on the same page and we are making rapid progress.”
CIO at Schiphol

A sustainable future from digital transformation

Digital transformation at Schiphol is key to its future sustainability in a sector that faces huge challenges around reducing environmental impact, improving the passenger experience and running a large operational workforce efficiently. Digital transformation is also a rich new source of value. With a clear plan for commercialisation, Schiphol is now brilliantly placed to unlock that value and generate vital new revenues.

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.