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May 22, 2020



Today's Top Stories


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


Pakistan International Airlines Flight Crashes in Karachi

A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 making a one-hour, 45-minute journey from Lahore to Karachi has crashed two miles northeast of Jinnah International Airport, destroying a number of houses. The aircraft lost contact with air traffic control just after 2:30 pm local time. The conversation between the cockpit and air traffic control reveals that both aircraft engines had shut down. Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, said he was "shocked and saddened" by the crash and promised an immediate investigation. The aircraft was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew; at least 37 people have died, while there are currently three confirmed survivors.

BBC | Related Celebrities express their grief over PK 8303 crash – Daily Pakistan



Self Scanning Passports, Group Temperature Screening

To curb the hundreds of reported cases of coronavirus among TSA agents, the agency is introducing new screening procedures. Travelers must scan their own boarding passes and help minimize the number of personal belongings that agents must touch. This includes placing any food in clear plastic bags. Should an alarm be triggered, travelers will be directed back outside of security to remove the items and put their bag through the X-ray screening again themselves. Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport is testing a new temperature screening system in its immigration hall which uses cameras to detect the temperatures of multiple people at once. If proven practical and well-received, the equipment may be rolled out across the airport into departures, connections and staff security check areas.

CN Traveler | Related Heathrow launches thermal screening technology trial – Breaking Travel News



The Weekly Wrap: Health Passports, Antimicrobial Surfaces and Mask Awareness

This week’s episode of The Weekly Wrap sees hosts Maryann Simson and Seth Miller discuss the prospect of new biosecurity measures throughout the air travel journey. Simon Lamkin, VP and global head of Travel Advisory at NIIT Technologies, joins to talk about his company’s digital health passport solution. The episode also takes stock of a continuing (if small) increase in flights across the globe and looks at the renewed emphasis cabin interiors companies are placing on the antimicrobial characteristics of their products.  

APEX Media | Related Estonia preparing to launch immunity passport for people recovered from virus – The Telegraph



What We’re Made Of: Every Challenge Overcome Is a Morale Boost, Says SkyPaxxx

SkyPaxxx recently managed to move two aircrafts' worth of Boeing 777 seats from Dubai to the United States, when there was little commercial air traffic and cargo flights were full. It seemed like mission impossible, but the company pulled it off. “Rising to seemingly impossible challenges for customers earns us their loyalty. Each challenge that has been turned into a positive helps to keep morale high,” said the company’s president, Rick Lockhart, adding that there’s no better time for change than when everyone is trying to figure out “the new normal” together. The What We’re Made Of series looks at how the aviation industry is tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

APEX Media | Related What We’re Made Of – APEX Media



Airlines Leveraging Customer Service 2.0 During COVID-19

During the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, airlines faced a barrage of customer service requests from travelers who had their plans upended. Carriers armed with automation tools in the form of chatbots, digital assistants and artificial intelligence were able to provide a higher standard of service even as requests soared, and saved on costs. WestJet’s virtual assistant, Juliet, for instance, dealt with a 1,671% increase in support tickets on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp during the first weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak in North America. It successfully resolved 87% of cases. Similarly, AirAsia’s AVA chatbot and the team behind it were said to be handling ten times the normal number of queries: up to 500,000 per day in April.

APEX Media | Related How AI can save airline customer service teams in times of crisis – Phocuswire



LATAM, Volotea, Virgin Australia Increase Schedules

LATAM Airlines Group is planning a modest increase in international and domestic flying in the next two months. Currently operating at 5% capacity, June would see capacity rise to 9% and reach 18% in July. In response to the new economic reality that clients and their families are facing, customers will enjoy flexible flight options and savings of up to 20% on tickets. Meanwhile, Volotea announced 40 new domestic routes slated to begin operation on June 16. Founder and CEO Carlos Muñoz said that “flying protocols are becoming clearer” and is betting on the resurgence of domestic travel. Meanwhile, Italian airports are set to reopen on June 3. And Virgin Australia added 12 flights to its weekly schedule to serve more essential travelers and carry more freight in the nation.

Breaking Travel News | Related VOLOTEA LAUNCHES 40 NEW DOMESTIC ROUTES – Airways Mag



Singapore Airlines Makes In-App E-Library Free

A new initiative courtesy of Singapore Airlines grants users of the airline’s app free access to over 150 international newspapers and magazines. Previously, the in-app e-library was only available to ticket holders for a fixed period, but the airline decided to extend content access to customers whose lives are disrupted by COVID-19 to help them pass time. Publications in the e-library will be regularly updated and free to download until June 30.

Inflight Online | Related The New SingaporeAir Mobile App – Singapore Airlines





A throwback to a sweet livery - the Haribo Goldbären TUI fly Boeing 737! Captured at Düsseldorf Airport by @flusipilot (via Instagram).

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


> Tweet of the Day

A grand welcome for our #QatarAirways A350-1000 at @BrisbaneAirport! This is the first of our new three-weekly services to the city, with 46 seats in Business Class and 281 seats in Economy Class #TakingYouHome 📸: Beau Chenery

Qatar Airways @qatarairways


Association News

Get to Know Franziska Stachl of Lufthansa Systems

Franziska is head of Global Sales Support and Strategy, Passenger Experience Products and Solutions for Lufthansa Systems, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. She also oversees product sales and project management for the implementation of the BoardConnect IFE solution. When it comes to helping IFE keep pace with media trends, she believes, "A cloud-based environment allows us to deliver content to the passenger in shorter time." Read our Q&A with Franziska here!


> Quote of the Day

“I think luck falls not just on the brave, but also on the ones who believe that they belong there.”

Novak Djokovic


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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