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December 8, 2016



Today's Top Stories



Industry News | Comfort & Ambience | Entertainment & Connectivity | Catering & Services


Leaked Documents Reveal US and British Spy Agencies Have Monitored In-Flight Phone Usage Since 2005

US and British spy agencies have been surveilling in-flight phone usage on board passenger aircraft since at least 2005, according to an investigation by Le Monde. The French newspaper based its findings on secret documents from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, which state that switching a phone on while an aircraft is above 10,000 feet is enough to disclose a passenger’s location to the NSA. Under a program called “Thieving Magpie,” spy agencies were also able to access near real-time information including BlackBerry PINs, e-mail addresses, Skype data and Facebook information. A leaked presentation document from the UK Government Communications Headquarters revealed the intelligence agency could even monitor usage of travel apps, Google Maps, currency converters and even BitTorrent downloads.

Quartz | Related Transport employees in America were secretly paid by the government to search travellers’ bags – The Economist



Unexpected Overhead: Airlines Accept FAA’s $27M Overhead Bin Repairs on Boeing 737s

The US Federal Aviation Administration’s regulatory proposal to improve the safety of overhead equipment panels in Boeing 737 aircraft has been accepted by airlines, despite the $27-million price tag. The FAA proposed the regulation in October in response to reports that passengers were being hit in the face by the panels below overhead bins and because fallen panels could slow down emergency evacuations. Airlines say they will comply with the FAA’s request that they install new support cords for the panels, but American Airlines and Japan Airlines have suggested that the repair deadline be extended from five to seven years to coincide with major maintenance overhauls.

USA Today | Related Boeing’s New Overhead Bins Hold 50 Percent More Bags – Wired



EU Bans Iran’s Third Largest Airline From Flying in Europe

The European Union has banned Iran Aseman Airlines from operating within the EU due to safety concerns. The European Commission (EC) said the Tehran-based carrier was added to the EU’s list of airlines that fail to meet international safety standards. The privately owned regional carrier, which is Iran’s third largest by active fleet size, was reported in August to be buying 20 regional jets from Mitsubishi for use on domestic routes. The EC also removed restrictions on all Kazakh airlines operating in Europe because of improvements in aviation safety.

Reuters | Related US House votes to bar sales of commercial aircraft to Iran – Business Insider



Qatar Airways Inks Deal for In-Flight Magazine

London-based publisher Ink has secured a deal to produce Qatar Airways’ monthly in-flight magazine Oryx. The monthly publication is expected to relaunch January 1, with a new contemporary design, exclusive photography and unique themes, such as art and innovation, shaping each issue. Oryx is available to passengers in all cabins across the Middle Eastern carrier’s fleet of 191 aircraft. “With their extensive and ever-expanding route network, this is an exciting time to be working with Qatar Airways,” said Michael Keating, joint CEO of Ink. “Each issue will not only inspire travel, but will complement the in-cabin experience for Qatar’s loyal, affluent and adventure-seeking customers.”

Arab News | Related Does Print Media Have an In-flight Shelf Life? – APEX Media



Out of the Box: Cheapflights’ Web Banner Ads Get You to Drag, Drop and Go

Cheapflights, a flight search engine owned by Momondo Group, will this week begin placing banner ads on high-traffic media websites, such as The Guardian, to catch the attention of visitors. The ads will ask readers to drag an image from the website’s editorial content to the ad. Doing so will trigger the ad to begin a flight search and display the price of a ticket to a destination relating to the content. For example, dragging the image from an article about the Barcelona FC soccer team to the ad would generate flight prices from the user’s location to the team’s next game.

Tnooz | Related Cheapflights Releases Guide to Gifts Travelers Will Actually Use — Market Wired



Airlines as Producers: Will They Follow Netflix’s Plotline?

The race to hyper-exclusivity among streaming media providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime is echoed in the in-flight entertainment industry, where airlines are evolving from content purveyors to content producers. United Airlines partnered with Tribeca Digital Studios to produce Destination: Team USA, a documentary that began airing in flight during the months leading up to the Rio Olympics, and Turkish Airlines is sponsoring an on-screen version of the real-life story about two strangers who traveled the world together. Several airlines have invested heavily in safety videos over recent years – Virgin America’s “#VXsafetydance” and Air New Zealand’s Hobbit-inspired “Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made" each racked up well over 10 million views on YouTube.

APEX Media | Related Olympics 2016: Airlines Carry the Torch With Curated IFE – APEX Media



Air Canada Launches a Club for High-Flying Kids

Air Canada has introduced a program designed to make the passenger experience more exciting for children under the age of 12. Kids signed up to the Air Canada Altitude Skyriders club will receive a kit containing a welcome letter, luggage tag, stickers and a logbook to keep track of their flights with the airline. Air Canada Altitude Skyriders members will also receive destination-specific collectable badges as a souvenir from each trip they make, in addition to activity books, headphones, backpacks and puzzles, depending on the route. "We hope to nurture and encourage childhood curiosity and create lifelong memories," said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada’s president of Passenger Airlines.

Travel Pulse | Related Kid-ding Around: How Airlines Are Accommodating Families Traveling With Children – APEX Media




Photo of the Day

Above the City of Everlasting Spring. Captured by @famarin02 (via Instagram).

Use #APEXPOTD for the chance to be featured in the APEX Daily Experience newsletter!


> Tweet of the Day

Our first #Boeing707, taking off into the jet age! #TBT #PretendToBeATimeTraveler

Lufthansa @lufthansa


Association News

Save the Date: APEX MultiMedia Market 2017

APEX MultiMedia Market 2017, the industry’s most comprehensive in-flight content conference for connecting buyers and sellers, will take place in Berlin from April 24 to 26, 2017. We caught up with Éric Lauzon, manager, Multimedia Entertainment, for Air Canada and co-chair of the event, to discuss what’s on the docket at APEX’s second-largest annual event. Click here to register.


Join the APEX Media Team!

Spafax is looking for a managing editor and deputy editor to oversee the APEX media platform, which includes a bi-monthly magazine (APEX Experience), a daily e-newsletter (APEX Daily Experience) and the news sections of APEX Media is the official news source for the Airline Passenger Experience Association, and creates a wide range of properties to help educate its membership on key issues and emerging trends.


> Quote of the Day

“The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.”

Carl Sagan


Until tomorrow



The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) encompasses a network of airlines, businesses and professionals that are committed to providing a world-class airline experience for passengers around the globe. Every day, APEX members are improving every aspect of the airline experience, from designing, building and installing seating, entertainment and communications systems on commercial aircraft, to airport lounges and in-flight dining. Visit for more information. APEX is professionally managed by Kellen Company, the premier global association management firm with offices and representation in the United States, Europe, China, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.


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