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March 19, 2020



Today's Top Stories



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


Qantas Initiates Unpaid Leave Until End of May for Two-Thirds of Employees

The Australian government’s decision to close its borders to foreign visitors has left Qantas little choice but to suspend all international flights. With 150 aircraft in its fleet grounded, the company instituted a period of unpaid leave until the end of May for two-thirds of its 30,000 employees, who may draw from their leave balances in the interim. Senior management and board members will no longer take a salary. CEO Alan Joyce acknowledged that these “difficult decisions” were necessary for the survival of the airline, currently grappling with an unprecedented drop in demand. “Our strong balance sheet means we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re taking action to make sure we can ride this out,” he stated.

Qantas | Related Coronavirus lockdown: Australia closes its borders — Executive Traveller 



Coronavirus: More Countries Lock Down Borders

Mirroring recent moves made by Australia and other countries, Taiwan and New Zealand have closed their borders to foreigners. Taiwan hopes to reduce its uptick in imported COVID-19 cases; it is experiencing a slower rate of local transmission. In a statement, IATA echoed APEX’s call for government aid during this crisis, specifically appealing to governments in Africa and the Middle East to provide emergency support to airlines as they “fight for survival.” Chicago’s Midway International Airport is facing hundreds of cancellations after several air traffic control technicians tested positive for COVID-19. JetBlue announced it will cut 40% of its capacity, and Allegiant Air will cut 35%. For Americans who have not been able to renew their driver’s licenses, the TSA is allowing the use of expired licenses as acceptable identification.

Flight Global | Related New Zealand shuts border to all foreigners to curb spread of coronavirus — Reuters



Gogo Aims to Mitigate Financial Hit of COVID-19

Gogo will renegotiate its satellite capacity leasing contracts to rein in bandwidth costs as the coronavirus grounds an increasing number of flights. The company plans to leverage its buying power to convince satellite companies to help it get through the crisis. “We [were] the fastest growing customer prior to coronavirus, and we will be the … fastest growing after coronavirus passes, so there is a lot of incentive for them to work with us to help us get through this pandemic,” said Gogo CEO Oakleigh Thorne. He also noted that two-thirds of the capacity Gogo leases outside of North America is up for renewal over the next three years.

Space News | Related Gogo and SmartSky Networks Share 5G Plans – APEX Media



Earthquake Temporarily Shutters Salt Lake City Airport

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit Utah, Wyoming and Idaho at 9:00 AM EST yesterday, prompting Salt Lake City International Airport to close its doors. The airport was evacuated, incoming flights were diverted and outbound flights were grounded because the area experienced nearly a dozen aftershocks. A water line needed repairs, but the facility otherwise maintained its structural integrity and began allowing travelers by 1:15 PM.

Airways Mag | Related New Salt Lake City airport to open in September 2020 — Business Traveller



Data Is Only Part of the Content Curation Strategy, Airlines Say

Airlines are increasingly using passenger viewing data to inform programming decisions, but also stress that relying solely on this information can be limiting. “Our approach is certainly data-driven. We are obsessed with data,” says JetBlue’s manager of Product Development, Drew Litavis. “But it’s important to take a balanced approach. Patrick Brannelly, SVP of Retail, IFE and Connectivity at Emirates, agrees, saying a key method the carrier uses is AI – actual intelligence. “We use our instincts to prioritize what we think is popular, and we look at the data to see if we were right.”

APEX Media | Related Picking the Hits: How Air Canada Uses Data Analytics to Optimize Its IFE Content – APEX Media



New Plymouth Regional Airport Unveils Modern Terminal

New Plymouth Airport (NPL) in New Zealand received a major upgrade for the first time in decades as it was expanded to 44,000 square feet. The $16-million renovation was needed because annual passenger metrics have grown exponentially since the early days of the airport. Local culture is reflected throughout the terminal. Indigenous community members were involved in the design stage and blessed the structure during the opening ceremony. Since NPL only operates regional flights, it will likely not be significantly affected by New Zealand’s decision to close its borders today.

Passenger Terminal Today | Related Queenstown Airport to suspend all international services from the end of March due to coronavirus — 1 News



AVIC Cabin Systems Names Richard Bower CCO

AVIC Cabin Systems, which owns AIM Altitude, has shaken up its leadership structure. AIM CEO Richard Bower has now become AVIC’s chief commercial officer. Wayne Ball has been appointed VP & general manager for AIM. Also, Andres Budo has been appointed senior VP, Aftersales and Services, for AVIC Cabin Systems, having previously been CEO of Thompson Aero Seating. Neil Taggart has been appointed VP & general manager for Thompson. Bower said his new role will allow him to continue enhancing the working relationship between the companies allied under AVIC Cabin Systems.

AIM Altitude | Related Factorydesign and Thompson’s VantageSolo Is Proof That Breaking From Tradition Has Its Rewards — APEX Media





This Embraer E190-E2 belongs to Air Astana. It boasts a livery that calls attention to the snow leopard, an endangered species. Captured by @airalexsvx (via Instagram).

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> Tweet of the Day

3.3 million seats in jeopardy between the US and Europe due to the travel ban. Learn more about the ripple effect. #politics #economiccrisis #CoronavirusOutbreak #DataAnalytics #ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys @ForwardKeys


Association News

COVID-19 Update

The health and safety of our members has always been and will remain APEX’s top priority. APEX leadership and staff are closely monitoring the information and recommendations set by the World Health Organization (WHO), US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other relevant international, national and local health and government authorities. Thank you for all you are doing to fully support air travel during this crisis.


> Quote of the Day


'"All that we don't know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing."

Philip Roth


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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