Innovator Spotlight

SFO: How APIs Will Enable Connected Airports

SFO: How APIs Will Enable Connected Airports

We spoke with Isaac Inkumsah, enterprise architect at San Francisco International Airport, about how APIs and API management will enable SFO to become a "connected airport"—one that improves the passenger experience, increases operational efficiency, and boosts revenue. A key to accomplishing this at the scale required for a small city-sized organization like SFO? APIs and API management.

"We want to be an airport that responds quickly, and with agility, effectively to our passengers, in terms of security, travel experience, and so on," Inkumsah said. To accomplish this, SFO aims to break the old landlord-tenant relationship that airports have with airlines and become more of a data broker between the airport, airlines, passengers, and other consitutents. 

SFO is off to a good start; it has developed API-driven solutions to monetize rideshares or optimize taxi queues. But with 30,000 employees and 50 million passengers per year, the airport requires technology that enables the simple and fast sharing of digital services at scale.

"We expect a fully connected airport to be completely running on services in the future, and APIs are going to be a big part of that," he said. 

"The airport is like a small city ... What it's going to take to scale our services delivery capability to support that entire infrastructure is going to be quite massive."
Isaac Inkumsah
Enterprise architect, San Francisco International Airport