With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), 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.  

Since inception, FLITE has successfully completed Rounds I, II and III with a total of 13 projects funded over $400,000. Round IV applications are open until June 30 with project executions starting August 2023. Round V applications will open July 1 and close November 1 with project executions starting January 2024. 


Core Focus Areas


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 Experience
Improving the experience and efficiency of getting to and from the airport

Enhanced Guest Experience
Improving the pre-boarding experience

Advancing Aviation
Exploring the enabling infrastructure and implications of emerging commercial aviation use cases


Applications for FLITE can be submitted here