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June 15, 2020



Today's Top Stories


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


New Aircraft Risks in Unusual Travel Environment

The Commercial Aviation Safety Team, comprised of the FAA, unions and airline officials, issued a spate of warnings last month over “unusual factors” caused by the recent dip in traveler demand. Less weight has resulted in tail strikes, which occur when a jet hits its tail on the runway during takeoff or landing, as well as aircraft climbing too quickly, exceeding their maximum assigned altitudes and straying off course. On the ground, parked planes are at risk of fuel contamination, and industry employees are increasingly stressed about their job situation. The FAA says it has “increased the number of information-sharing meetings we’re holding with operators.”  

Bloomberg | Related Coronavirus News: Regular Updates on COVID-19’s Impact on the Airline Industry ­– APEX Media



Crystal Cabin Award Postponed to 2021, New Hygiene Category Added

The 14th Crystal Cabin Award ceremony, which was due to take place on April 1, 2020, has been postponed until April 13, 2021. All of this year’s 24 finalists are still in the running and will have the opportunity to present to the judging panel the day before the event. In addition to the eight existing categories, a new trophy will be awarded for hygiene-related innovation in response to COVID-19. The judges will come up with the criteria for this new category over the summer, before submissions open on October 1, 2020.

APEX Media | Related [PHOTOS] Crystal Cabin Award 2020 Finalists Announced – APEX Media



[PHOTOS] Less Is More for Low-Part-Count Seat Makers

Aircraft seating manufacturers are adopting low-part-count solutions that promise savings in weight, cost and upkeep. The simplest iteration of the Acro Series 3 seat – whose customers include Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air, among others – avoids unnecessary components, such as the meal tray table latch. Geven’s economy-class Essenza seat features 30 to 40 percent less parts compared to its predecessor, the Piuma Evo. The Airtek Consortium, comprising JPA Design, Williams Advanced Engineering and SWS Certification, is exploring how composite moulding applications would allow for small features, such as attachment points and brackets, to be integrated instead of bolted on afterward.

APEX Media | Related Read the latest issue of APEX Experience



United Mortgages Frequent Flyer Program, Qatar and Mitsubishi Aircraft Make Cuts

United Airlines is mortgaging its Mileage Plus frequent flyer program in exchange for a $5 billion loan which will be repaid in seven years. The company spoke positively about the terms of the deal, saying it would not give up control over its operations nor offer discounted prepaid miles to raise cash, which would hinder long-term cash flow. "Even in the best of times this is a facility we'll have some interest in using," said a United executive. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will cut more than half of its 2,000 employees and close all of its overseas bases except for the company's flight test site in Washington, a move that could further delay the launch of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet. Qatar Airways announced it would cut the salaries of senior and junior pilots by 25% and 15%, respectively.

CNN | Related Mitsubishi Aircraft to scale down passenger jet development operation and cut half of workforce – Japan Times



What We’re Made Of: Growing Eros International Media’s Audience During Lockdown

Prashant Gaonkar, VP Content Syndication at Eros International Media Ltd., said the impact of COVID-19 on its in-flight entertainment business has been unprecedented, “with multiple sales bookings having been postponed or simply cancelled.” However, his company used the fact that people were consuming more online content during lockdown to grow its audience on the ground, offering Indian customers a two-months free subscription to its Eros Now video-on-demand platform. A similar offer was extended to passengers of Cathay Pacific, one of its airline clients. 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



Cyrus Capital Envisions Mid-Market Makeover for Virgin Australia

Over the weekend, Cyrus Capital’s senior adviser Jonathan Peachey divulged how it would reboot Virgin Australia should it be successful in its takeover bid. Cyrus sees the most potential in transforming it into a mid-tier airline positioned below Qantas and above Jetstar. The carrier would appeal to business travelers and value-oriented travelers alike, a successful strategy that Cyrus previously employed as a cornerstone Virgin America investor. Peachey expressed his desire to simplify the company and focus initially on domestic routes, although he did not specify the degree to which Virgin Australia’s fleet would shrink. Cyrus would also inject more of the innovative brand identity Virgin is known for, saying Virgin Australia has become “a little too corporate.”

Executive Traveller | Related Could the new Virgin Australia be more like Virgin America? – Executive Traveller



British Airways Offers Extended Executive Club Memberships, Low-Touch Catering

British Airways notified its Executive Club members that those with memberships expiring soon would have their tier status extended by an additional year. The airline is also reducing the cost of tier upgrades by 25%. In the cabin, BA is temporarily changing the way its meals are served. Starting tomorrow, food will come packaged in a cardboard box to limit contact between flight attendants and passengers. Long-haul travelers will be offered a hot entrée or sandwich, served with a salad and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Snacks will also be available between meals.

The Design Air | Related Airlines mount legal challenge against UK quarantine measure – Flight Global





Lights Out,” written by our entertainment expert Tomás Romero, looks at what vacant theaters and early VOD release windows mean for in-flight entertainment.

This week, we're featuring content from the first-ever digital-only issue of #APEXExperienceMag.

> Tweet of the Day

5:30 in the morning, all volunteers here to greet our first passengers after almost 90 days of grounding. Simply amazing ... ❤️❤️❤️

Austrian Airlines @_austrian


Association News

All Together Now: Jovita Toh Talks Teamwork 10 Years After Starting Encore Inflight

After taking a globetrotting trip, Jovita Toh realized that in-flight entertainment offerings were humdrum and wanted to shake things up, so she founded Encore Inflight. At first, airlines were not interested in the company’s library of diverse, off-the-radar programming. But Toh, a lifelong cinema and television buff, pressed on and fostered an all-for-one company culture, which has proved especially helpful during this pandemic. Read her heartfelt story in the latest issue of APEX Experience.


FTE launches COVID-19 Virtual Startup Pitch Events

Following the success of the recent FTE APEX Virtual Events, Future Travel Experience has launched Virtual Startup Pitch Events as part of its ongoing efforts to support the industry through the COVID-19 crisis. These unique online events will provide a platform for the most pioneering startups and scaleups to share how they can help airlines, airports and their partners overcome the various challenges they face due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first Virtual Startup Pitch Event will take place on 24 June, so act fast if you would like to be involved! Find out more here.


> Quote of the Day

“Size, proportions and functions of today’s galleys are based on serving individual meal trays out of carts ... We are questioning whether this is still the most efficient way to go about meal service.”

Helena Teichrib, AIM Altitude
Read the article


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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