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January 31, 2020



Today's Top Stories



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


Southwest Disputes Government Report Criticizing Airline’s Safety Operations

According to a draft of a government report obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Southwest Airlines flew more than 17 million passengers on planes with unconfirmed maintenance records over roughly two years. The report, based on an 18-month enquiry, also lays blame on the FAA for its lax approach to oversight on this matter. Southwest disagrees with the findings, saying that its safety systems meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. Earlier this month, the FAA concluded that Southwest flew over 21,000 flights with erroneous weight and balance information and imposed a $3.92-million fine.

Reuters | Related FAA proposes $3.9M fine against Southwest – USA Today



Behind the Scenes of the Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Merger

At APEX TECH, Charu Jain, SVP of Merchandising and Innovation, Alaska Airlines, gave delegates insight into the acquisition of Virgin America. The differences between the two airlines were extensive, from aircraft fleets – all Boeing for Alaska, all Airbus for Virgin America – to the hundreds of computer systems, seven data centers and two networks that had to be melded together. “Everybody wants to move ahead and start merging those business functions, but you can’t merge those until you merge the underlying technologies first,” she explained.

APEX Media | Related Alaska Airlines CIO Charu Jain is leveraging tech to take the hassle out of travel – GeekWire



JetBlue Reveals Details of Future Digital Retail Experience

This week at APEX TECH, JetBlue Airways’ director of Data Science, Ben Singleton explained how he plans to leverage machine learning techniques and the company’s data collections to inform pricing. “We ought to be doing dozens or hundreds of experiments at a time in different markets to understand how behavior changes and quickly react and hone in on what optimal pricing might look like,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet but that is the vision we need to strive for.”

APEX Media | Related [VIDEO] Mariya Stoyanova on JetBlue’s Customer Experience Strategy — APEX Media



Iberia Names Next CEO

Javier Sánchez-Prieto will fulfill the role of chairperson and chief executive of Iberia, a post that Luis Gallego held since 2013. Gallego is set to replace Willie Walsh at the helm of parent company International Airlines Group. Currently the chairperson and CEO of Vueling, Sánchez-Prieto was Iberia’s director of Strategic Planning and Finance from 2013 to 2016, when he led the airline’s financial turnaround. Rounding out the shakeup is Iberia’s current chief commercial officer Marco Sansavini, who will replace Sánchez-Prieto as chairperson and chief executive of Vueling. The moves are expected to be completed at the end of March.

Breaking Travel News | Related Willie Walsh to stand down as boss of British Airways owner — The Guardian



Pilot Association Sues American Airlines Over Flights to China

The union representing American Airlines pilots filed a lawsuit yesterday in which it accused the carrier of negligently and intentionally exposing its members to the coronavirus by continuing to operate flights to Beijing and Shanghai out of Dallas. American said Wednesday that it would only suspend flights between Los Angeles and mainland China starting February 9. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency, which gives it the authority to question countries over unnecessary travel.

Travel Weekly | Related World Health Organization declares coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern — CNN



OneWeb Confirms 34 Satellites to Launch Next Week

A total of 34 satellites will be launched from Kazakhstan on February 6 as part of OneWeb’s growth campaign, which will see regular launches throughout the year in what the company touts as one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. Each satellite that joins the current constellation of 648 will be an integral part of the OneWeb high-speed global satellite broadband network, and together they will activate OneWeb’s first customer demos by the end of 2020 to provide full commercial global services, with aviation services following in 2021.

Aircraft Interiors International | Related [Video] Ben Griffin Discusses Next Steps for OneWeb — APEX Media



EasyJet Electric Aircraft Could Begin Flight Testing in 2023

Wright Electric and EasyJet are partnering to develop a 186-seat electric aircraft known as Wright 1, which is scheduled to enter service in 2030. The next step in the project, development of the motor, is underway. Wright Electric is constructing a 1.5MW electric motor and a 3kV inverter that will form the basis of the aircraft’s engine, with ground tests slated to be conducted next year. EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren named the rapid advancement of battery technology and more government-funded research into electric aviation as key drivers toward a future not exclusively reliant on jet fuel.






A flydubai Boeing 737-800NG on short final approach. Captured by @flyingthingx (via Instagram).

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> Tweet of the Day

Wondering how you travel after the UK leaves the EU at 23:00 GMT today? You can travel as you do now as there will be no changes to your travel arrangements during the #Brexit transition period.

Heathrow Airport @HeathrowAirport


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> Quote of the Day


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Philip Glass


Until next week



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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