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March 11, 2020



Today's Top Stories



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


APEX Encourages Tax Relief for Airlines During COVID-19 Crisis

The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is encouraging governments worldwide to issue immediate tax relief for the airline industry due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus). As such, APEX has put forward three recommendations, including reducing all possible global tax burdens on airlines, suspending “hidden taxes” such as forced slot and gate utilization, and removing new aviation taxes or penalties. “APEX’s recommendations for governments reducing taxation, penalties and slot/gate bureaucracy in the middle of a crisis will go a long way toward ensuring economic recovery,” said APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader.

APEX Media | Related FAA Acts to Help Airlines Affected by Coronavirus Cancellations — FAA



Coronavirus: China Acts in Face of Stark Drops in Demand

As the coronavirus takes its toll on China’s aviation industry, the country’s civil aviation administration announced a total of 16 countermeasures that touch on everything from providing financial support to domestic carriers, to reducing airport parking fees and increasing infrastructure investment. The contagion continues to have far-reaching effects, with airlines and governments around the world exercising caution; the cabin crew aboard Singapore Airlines must now wear surgical masks. A crucial hurdle for many airlines has been the reduction in travel demand, which United Airlines estimates will amount to 70% in some territories. Norwegian Air canceled 15% of its total capacity yesterday, while Lufthansa has grounded at least 150 aircraft.

Flight Global | Related Coronavirus Is Starting to Significantly Impact Norwegian, Alitalia, and Other Airlines — CN Traveler



Etihad Looks to Strengthen Chinese Customer Engagement

Etihad Airways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese Internet company Tencent to broaden the amount of digital services the airline offers. Etihad will leverage Tencent’s cloud computing capabilities and social media platforms such as WeChat, the largest in China, in an effort to cater to customer preferences. Etihad launched a mini program on WeChat, allowing it to interact with users natively within the app. Robin Kamark, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said that Etihad stands in solidarity with China, “a very important market,” in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Etihad Airways | Related Etihad Airways announces move to Beijing’s spectacular Daxing International Airport — Etihad Airways



Cathay in Talks to Defer New Aircraft, Delaying New Seating Products

Despite ongoing plans to take delivery of 70 new aircraft by 2024, in light of COVID-19 Cathay Pacific is currently in negotiations with Airbus, Boeing and aircraft lessors to defer any new aircraft deliveries this year. This will mean a knock-on delay for multiple new seating products, such as the new regional business-class seat set to debut on Airbus A321neo aircraft being delivered to Cathay Dragon, as well as the new first-class cabin due to launch on board Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-9 aircraft. Changes to Cathay’s capital expenditure plans follow significant capacity cuts and a request for staff to volunteer for unpaid leave.

APEX Media | Related Cathay Pacific Shares Strategy for Keeping Customers Informed Through Disruptions – APEX Media



Gilat Reveals New ESA at Satellite 2020

Gilat Satellite Networks and partner Carlisle Interconnect Technologies are demonstrating a new electronically steered antenna terminal at Satellite 2020 in Washington. The unit contains no moving parts and features wide instantaneous bandwidth, wideband frequency support, instantaneous beam switching and gate-to-gate operation. The antenna, baseplate, skirt and transparent radome are packaged in a low-profile design. Carlisle’s proprietary Thermal Management Solution is also built into the terminal, which successfully connected to GEO and LEO satellites during recent flight tests.

Gilat | Related Cool Running: Carlisle IT’s Overheating Solution for Electronically Steered Antennas — APEX Media



SITA Showcases Connected Aircraft Technology on Boeing Demonstrator

The SITA for Aircraft technology suite is being showcased as part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program. The portfolio provides services that enable communication between aircraft, ground systems, air traffic control and other operators. SITA and Honeywell are working to break away from the aging ACARS data protocol and migrate to Internet protocol suites to improve end-to-end data exchanges. SITA’s ability to integrate multiple networks, both proprietary and third-party, enables seamless fallback.

SITA | Related Boeing Takes New Technologies Out of the Lab and Onto ecoDemonstrator Flying Test Bed — Boeing



Skyports Gains Additional Backer

Irelandia Aviation, a developer of low-cost airlines, has joined current Skyports backers who have pledged a total of $7.8 million in funding. This provides the company with enough cash to develop, test and launch commercial vertiports, which are airports designed for urban air mobility aircraft. The first vertiport will be tested in North America during the second quarter of this year, with two others to follow. Los Angeles remains a likely first location for a commercial vertiport. A rollout should be ready by 2023, the time electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft are scheduled to enter into service.

Flight Global | Related Skyports set to take the drone sector to new heights with millions raised in capital — Business Mole





This spotter photographed an Air France jet...and a fellow spotter! Captured by @speedbird9lima (via Instagram).

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> Tweet of the Day

Nothing is more important to us than your safety. Learn more about the expanded aircraft cleaning processes we have put in place to help ensure the wellbeing of our customers and employees.

Delta @Delta


Association News

How Would You Measure Seat Comfort?

APEX has formed a task group to rethink how the industry measures seat comfort. As such, APEX is calling out to industry experts to pitch their ideas, with the intention of establishing APEX Seat Space, a comparative rating system that takes into consideration seat depth and width as well as other elements such as the headrest, recline, in-flight entertainment, etc. To participate, please contact APEX executive director Katie Geraghty at


> Quote of the Day


“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Jonathan Gottschall


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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