Muhammed Ali International and Louisville University form partnership

The innovation project aims to identify where technological and operational advancements can be implemented

Yesterday (March 18), Louisville Muhammed Ali International Airport (SDF) and the University of Louisville (UofL) announced that they will be collaborating on research to help enhance traveller experiences and airport operations.

The new research programme allows the airport campus, including all its facilities, terminal and airfield, to act as a lab for UofL projects. Airport staff, faculty from the university and students will work collaboratively on the innovation research. Their aim is to identify opportunities for technological and process improvements.

Muhammad Ali International
Photo Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport

“The thought of the entire airport campus as an innovation lab, is a concept I have explored for a while,” said Darrell Watson, vice president of strategy and innovation for the airport authority. “SDF can be the launching point of ideas and concepts that may potentially be game-changers in the airport industry.”

This summer, the university will conduct an evaluation which will determine the possible projects that could take place. Researchers from many different backgrounds will provide their input into the study, finding solutions that could be used across the industry at both the terminal and airfield.

Will Metcalf, UofL’s associate vice president for research development and partnerships, added: “We love building strong, impactful relationships with our industry partners. This work has significant potential to energize our regional economy — from driving workforce development to generating new technologies, the possibilities are endless.”

Some examples of potential projects include the development of runway surfaces or the improvement of the efficiency of airport terminal operations.

As well as finding new innovations for the airport, the programme also allows students from UofL to experience experiential opportunities within the industry. This allows them to gain real life working knowledge and skills whilst collaborating with researchers and airport staff.