APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Vote to Prioritize Airline Empowerment, Sustainability & Government Accountability


Photo: Stephanie Taylor

During the Thought Leadership conference at the 2023 APEX/IFSA Global EXPO, the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors met together onstage hosted by APEX/IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader, to vote on the foremost topics they should prioritize in the coming year. 

Attending the meeting were EL AL’s CEO, Dina Ben Tal Ganancia; Fiji Airways’ Managing Director & CEO, Andre Viljoen; JSX’s CEO, Alex Wilcox; Qatar Airways Group’s CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker; SAS’ EVP & CCO, Paul Verhagen; SAUDIA’s CEO, Captain Ibrahim Koshy; and Spirit Airlines’ President & CEO, Ted Christie.

There were three shortlisted items the board could vote for: “Empowering Airlines: Expanding Services Beyond Regulatory Constraints,” “APEX Greener: A Unified Airline Environmentally Sustainability In-Flight ‎Products Initiative,” and “Passenger Rights & Government Accountability: Protecting from Air Traffic ‎Control Lapses.”

For the first time, all the attendees unanimously voted to support each of the three topics.

The first, which focuses on empowering airlines, notes the importance of airlines retaining the autonomy to offer products, flights and services that cater to passengers’ evolving needs. It comes in response to recent regulatory changes that APEX/IFSA feel disproportionately reduces access to passenger ‎service variety, connectivity, code sharing, airport access and other innovations. 

Elsewhere, APEX/IFSA has recognised that airlines ‎are incurring redundant expenses in verifying environmental sustainability ‎assertions. By voting for APEX Greener, the board would agree they were in favor of airlines sharing insights and data on sustainable ‎products as part of the APEX Greener initiative, which is poised for launch and offers airlines a complimentary platform to achieve unified certification of in-flight product sustainability. 

Finally, APEX/IFSA has identified the need for ‎governments to assume financial responsibility for lapses in air traffic control and ‎core services – a recent incident at one airport ‎triggered by a singular technical issue that resulted in a loss of over $120 ‎million for airlines in 24 hours. APEX/IFSA also believes that when passenger delays ‎are a direct result of government failures, it is just that the government ‎compensates for these delays from tax funds to mirror the accountability that airlines uphold in their ‎operations.‎