December 3, 2021
APEX/IFSA EXPO Reunites the Airline Industry ‎

The Airline Industry Triumphantly Returned for the ‎First Major In-Person Event of the Year!‎

Long Beach, CA. USA (2 December 2021) – This week, APEX/IFSA EXPO brought the airline industry back together for the first time in over a year. The three-day event encompassed more than 1300 attendees,150 exhibitors, and hundreds of airline leaders from around the globe.

The triumphant in-person event showcased a day-long Thought Leadership Conference, sponsored by Thales and emceed by BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst, that featured some of the industry’s most powerful and influential leaders, such as:

For the first time ever, the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors spoke openly alongside one another on the main stage. Led in-person by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors featured an exclusive group of airline executives, including: Chairman Emeritus Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO; Yuji Akasaka, Japan Airlines President; İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines Group CEO & Chairman; Jóhanna á Bergi, Atlantic Airways CEO; Zhao Dong, Xiamen Airlines Chairman; Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance CEO; Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Incoming CEO; Captain Ibrahim Koshy, Saudia CEO; and Alex Wilcox, JSX CEO.

The 2021/2022 APEX/IFSA Board of Governors unanimously voted on four key resolutions for the industry:

  • The Global Vaccinated Airline Initiative: For the protection of passengers and crew members from COVID-19, airlines will vaccinate ‎their team members to the fullest extent possible. This initiative shall continue so long as ‎COVID-19 continues to be a threat to safe global air travel.‎
  • The Disruptive Passenger Data-Sharing: For the protection of airline customers and crew members, airlines may voluntarily share ‎disruptive passenger data lists with one another to the extent that the law allows. The sharing ‎of these lists shall not have a predetermined action from one airline to another but rather will ‎enable each airline to independently determine the best course of protective action for flight ‎crew and other passengers. ‎
  • New Health Safety Requirements for Four-Star and Five-Star Airlines: Following the approval of this measure, APEX Official Airline Ratings™ Four Star and Five ‎Star airlines must make publicly and easily available to their customers their health safety ‎protocols in order to qualify for future APEX Four Star / Five Star awards.  ‎
  • A New Sustainability Requirements for Four-Star and Five-Star Airlines: Following the approval of this measure, APEX Official Airline Ratings™ Four Star and Five ‎Star airlines must make publicly and easily available to their customers their sustainability ‎initiatives in order to qualify for future APEX Four Star / Five Star awards.  In addition, each ‎airline shall make incremental improvements to their sustainability efforts each year ‎thereafter in an ongoing improvement commitment to sustainable aviation.‎

Attendees of APEX EXPO also took part in world-class thought leadership seminars that covered topics such as connectivity, COVID-19, health and safety, and sustainability.

“We are honored to have hosted the industry’s first major in-person global event and most influential conference and exposition,” said APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader. “As our world recovers from COVID-19, airlines are leading passenger-centric revolution. It’s an evolution of air travel to bring back the genuine joy of travel while maintaining health safety.  We are proud of the leadership our members have shown throughout the pandemic to advance the rapid recovery of airline passenger experience.”

The top airlines and vendors, who have elevated the passenger experience over the last year, were also celebrated during the Awards Ceremony. The industry’s best-of-the-best received awards and recognition in the following categories:

  • APEX/IFSA Awards: Airline and vendors who have successfully implemented new programs and services this year were honored. Click here to view the press release.
  • World Class: Airlines were awarded in this new premier category of air travel for achievements based on a number of key metrics that matter to today’s travelers. Click here to view the press release.
  • The Official Airline Ratings™: Four and Five Star airlines were recognized as part of the only airline rating program based solely on verified, validated, and certified passenger feedback. Click here to view the press release.
  • Passenger Choice Awards: Airlines who provide excellence in seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. Click here to view the press release.

APEX also gave out two individual honors. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines GCEO and Chairman, was recognized with a CEO Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements, contributions, and dedication to the industry throughout his career, spanning more than 25 years. Additionally, SpiceJet received the 2021 APEX Newcomer of the Year award for its SG Docs mobile app, which it created during the past 12 months to transition flight attendants’ operational processes from paper to digital form.

For more information and photos about all the awards given out during the APEX/IFSA Award Ceremony, please visit, follow us on on TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and  sign up for the APEX Daily Experience e-newsletter


About the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)

As a global non-profit and one of the world’s largest international airline associations, APEX advances passenger experience with the backing of nearly every major airline and valued supplier over the past 42 years. In conjunction with both the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) and Future Travel Experience (FTE), APEX serves the full spectrum of the end-to-end travel experience.  APEX reinvests all of its resources to serving its members, strengthening the worldwide airline industry, advancing thought-leadership, fostering business opportunities via events, developing global initiatives, setting key airline standards, and highlighting well-deserved recognition across our industry.

For more information about APEX, please visit, sign up for the APEX Daily Experience e-newsletter, or follow APEX on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the International Flight Services Association (IFSA)

The International Flight Services Association (IFSA) is a global professional association serving the needs and interests of airline and railway personnel, caterers and suppliers who provide onboard services on regularly scheduled travel routes. Under the umbrella of APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) serving every major airline in the world, IFSA is dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of the multi- billion dollar inflight and railway onboard service industry.

For more information about IFSA, please visit, or follow IFSA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.