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The Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship

About Our Program

With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Southwest Airlines, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority has introduced the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship, or FLITE, which provides grants and pilot-testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel technology solutions to market. This is one of the first airport-based initiatives in the nation that provides funding to encourage the design and development of new products and services in a live airport environment.  

How does it work?


The Ford International Airport has identified six core focus areas for new technology advancements through FLITE: 

  • Automation & Analytics: Improving operational efficiency and optimization of workforce and other resources through automation and analysis of data.
  • Electrification & Sustainability: Switching fossil fuel vehicles and infrastructure to electrics and other decarbonization projects.
  • Safety & Security: Strengthening passenger and worker safety and security throughout the airport campus.
  • Door-to-Door & Terminal Guest Experience: Improving the efficiency of getting to and from the airport and improving the pre-boarding experience.
  • Advancing Aviation: Exploring the enabling infrastructure and implications of emerging commercial aviation use cases.


How can I apply?

The advisory committee will review and score each application. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Office of Future Mobility and Electrification will then schedule calls with applicants who received a high review score, before selecting and notifying the final grant recipients. Evaluation criteria includes, but is not limited to, partners, location, budget, timeline and metrics. Visit MEDC to learn more.

Applications are now being accepted through November 1, 2023, at


Advisory committee


The following organizations have agreed to serve as an advisory committee for FLITE, providing feedback on the applications and pathways to scale proven and successful projects: 

Official Partners