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June 4, 2020



Today's Top Stories


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


China Eases Flight Restrictions on Foreign Carriers

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced today that it will ease restrictions for around 95 foreign carriers, allowing weekly flights to one destination per airline starting on June 8. This development follows yesterday’s news that the US Department of Transportation banned Chinese airlines from touching down in America from June 16. Prior to this, the CAAC had said international airlines could fly no more capacity to China than they did on March 12, effectively banning US airlines since they weren’t operating flights to China at that time. In May, the CAAC denied applications from Delta Air Lines and United Airlines for authority to resume passenger flights between the countries.

Reuters | Related U.S. Blocks Chinese Flights in Geopolitical Tensions: What Does It Mean? – Skift



Airlines Outline Plans as Travel Anxiety Decreases

Research from Skyscanner shows that levels of traveler unease are at their lowest point since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, American Airlines saw a 71% increase in customers compared to April levels. It is planning to fly 55% of its domestic schedule and nearly 20% of its international schedule in July as compared to the same period last year, and will begin reopening lounges. Delta Air Lines will continue to limit capacity and block middle seats until September 30 to encourage physical distancing. Meanwhile, Lufthansa said it will operate at 40% capacity by September, as it serves the majority of the destinations in its network with smaller aircraft.

Phocuswire | Related American Airlines Increasing Domestic Service for the Summer – Travel Pulse



FTE Releases Free Roadmap for Post-COVID-19 Success

Future Travel Experience (FTE) released a document outlining what airlines, airports and their partners should consider to recover from the short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic. The Post-COVID-19 Passenger Experience Think Tank, which has been co-created with input from APEX and members of the FTE Innovation & Startup Hub, contains guidance on each passenger touchpoint, along with case studies of successful implementation. Ryan Ghee, head of Strategy and Development at FTE, said the document outlines how the industry can use “touchless biometrics, proactive multichannel communications, e-commerce and digital health passports” to future-proof operations.

Future Travel Experience | Related Download the Think Tank PDF



ATPCO Devises Method of Overriding Ticket Restrictions During COVID-19

Some airline customers holding non-refundable airline tickets purchased before the COVID-19 outbreak and wishing to change their plans will soon be able to. On June 7, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Singapore Airlines and more than 60 other carriers will adopt emergency flexibility protocols led by ATPCO, which make it easier to override existing fare rules and waive change fees. The automated solution also gives hundreds of thousands of global travel agencies a blanket approach to ticketing changes. According to IATA, as of late March, airlines had up to $35 billion worth of tickets that consumers might want to reschedule.

Skift | Related ATPCO automates coronavirus waivers for travel agents – Travel Weekly



Southwest Offers Buyout Packages, Greece Bans Qatar Travel

In a letter to employees, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the company was headed for a 30% capacity reduction in the fall and was “overstaffed.” To bring employee numbers down voluntarily, Southwest is offering a buyout package to 10-year veterans of the company consisting of one year’s pay and four years of flight privileges if they opt for early retirement. Pilots would get paid about two-thirds of their average salary for five years or until they hit 65, whichever comes first. In other news, Greece is suspending flights to and from Qatar until mid-June after a Qatar Airways flight yesterday brought 12 travelers to Athens who tested positive for COVID-19.




Touchless, Frictionless Airports on the Horizon

SITA argues that contactless technology will be essential in solving both current obstacles faced by the aviation industry, and the pre-existing pre-COVID-19 challenge of growth and development in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. The company’s SITA Flex solution allows travelers to interact with airport touchpoints from their smartphones. United Airlines and AirAsia have already deployed similar technology in the form of contactless kiosks. SITA expects improvements to biometric technology to enable remote “on the move” iris scanning as an alternative to facial recognition, allowing travelers to keep face coverings on throughout their journey.

APEX Media | Related AirAsia rolls out end-to-end contactless services – Future Travel Experience



ABC International’s Boom Headrest Aims to Replace Orthopedic Pillow

ABC International unveiled a new headrest design that supports the neck and head like an orthopedic pillow. The Boom Headrest is shaped like a bar with flexible “gooseneck” ends that can be positioned to embrace the neck area and encourage correct posture. Constructed from an aluminium alloy with steel and polyamide inserts, the product is lightweight and can be customized based on size and foam stiffness, and is offered in cloth or leather covering. Kits can be delivered with EASA certifications.

Inflight Online | Related Rethinking How We Measure Seats, Using “Seat Space” – APEX Media





The interplay of line and curve. Captured by Tom Ferguson.

This image was featured in a photo essay in the April/May issue of APEX Experience magazine. Look out for the latest issue next week!

> Tweet of the Day

Mariana Fonseca Medina @AmericanAir: "Sometimes the tech comes before the strategy," but #COVID19 means airlines must be scrappy with data they already have. When it comes to next investments, they'll know more about what they need. #FTEAPEXWebinars @theapexassoc @FutureTravelX

Stephanie Taylor @sgracetaylor


Association News

Episode 7 of The Weekly Wrap Lands Tomorrow

Don’t miss the new episode of The Weekly Wrap with Maryann Simson and Seth Miller, which will be released tomorrow! In the meantime, you can watch previous episodes here. If you want to be notified when a new show is published, make sure you subscribe to the APEX YouTube channel, which is home to lots of exciting commercial aviation content. Don’t forget to like and share, too!


> Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust


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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