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June 23, 2020



Today's Top Stories


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


Delta Will Resume Service to China, Qatar Piles on Routes

Delta Air Lines is “excited” to resume flights between Seattle and Shanghai-Pudong via Seoul-Incheon beginning Thursday after the US Department of Transportation began allowing US carriers to fly four weekly flights to China last week. During an HBO interview, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that passengers who are not wearing a mask on board would not be forcibly removed from flights. He added that if the government legally mandated the wearing of PPE, Delta could more easily enforce the rule. Meanwhile, Qatar is forging ahead with its plan to remain the largest international carrier in the world during the coronavirus pandemic by increasing the frequency of service on many routes. Qatar is planning on resuming service to JFK, Boston Logan, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles international airports.

Business Traveller | Related Qatar Airways rebuilding U.S. service – Travel Weekly



American Airlines Says Racial Discrimination Allegations Are Not Accurate

Elgin Banks and Aubrey Kelly, both black men, are suing American Airlines over disputes that took place on May 31 before a Los Angeles–Phoenix flight. Kelly says the airline made him check his carry-on bag despite it meeting size requirements, while Banks claims he asked for permission to change seats during boarding and was denied, which led to his ejection from the plane. Three other passengers who vouched for him during the incident were escorted off as well, and they have joined the lawsuit. American Airlines claims that Banks was attempting to sit in an occupied seat in first class. "Discrimination of any kind is not acceptable and does not align with our values, which is why we launched an investigation. We believe that the allegations are not a full or accurate portrayal of the incident," said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for American.

USA Today | Related Black Southwest flight attendant's emotional conversation with white airline CEO – CNN



UIA Tragedy: Iran Will Hand Over Black Boxes, Offer Grief Compensation

During a telephone call between the foreign affairs ministers of Iran and Canada, the Middle Eastern country promised to send the flight data recorders from Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 to France for analysis, almost 6 months after it was shot down. Iran also committed to enter into negotiations for reparations with the families of those killed in the incident. Iran’s representative in ICAO, Farhad Parvaresh, previously said that the data recorders would have been handed over to the Ukraine in March had COVID-19 not struck. Earlier this month, Parvaresh claimed that Iran would bypass Ukraine and send the flight recorders directly to France as soon as all the parties that want to be there when they are downloaded can travel.

CTV News | Related Iran agrees to send Ukrainian plane crash black boxes to Kiev, official says – Global News



Spike in COVID-19 Cases Stalls Recovery in China, Australia

The World Health Organization reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases on Sunday when it added over 183,000 to its tally, which now stands at over 8.9 million cases globally. In Beijing, a second wave that began on June 11 has spread to 249 people so far and put a dent in China’s aviation recovery. Cirium recorded a 0.5% decline in tracked scheduled passenger flights by Chinese operators for June 16 compared with June 9. Meanwhile, Qantas announced the cancellation of its international flights through October due to lingering government restrictions.

Breaking Travel News | Related Qantas Cancels International Flights Through October – Travel Pulse



New SmartTray Patents Add Cost-Saving Opportunities for Airlines

SmartTray International was granted six additional utility patents yesterday for personal electronic device (PED) holders in tray tables, bringing the company’s total to 17 utility patents and one design patent. SmartTray claims its tech-friendly tray tables present an inexpensive and lightweight alternative to replacing entire seats or mounting seatback PED holders. “Adding new parts to … passenger seats require that modified seats be recertified, a significantly more costly option,” said president and CEO Nick Pajic. He also noted that the tray tables can be replaced quickly enough that service would not be disrupted.

SmartTray International | Related How the Meal Tray Got Its Groove Back: Kaelis Serves Up an Appetizing Device Holder – APEX Media



How LIFT Aero Design Found Its Niche by Casting a Wide Strategic Net

LIFT Aero Design places less emphasis on industrial design and more on developing a wider scope, says Daniel Baron, who opened the studio in 2009 and has since worked on everything from startups and legacy carriers, to single-aisle refurbishments and superjumbo Airbus A380s. This all-encompassing mindset enables LIFT to see the hidden opportunities in narrower briefs: In the case of the Philippine Airlines, for which LIFT designed A350 cabins, multicolored mood lighting was used to generate ancillary revenue for the first time ever. This article is part of a series that focuses on 10 of the aviation industry’s top design firms. It was first published in the April/May issue of APEX Experience magazine.

APEX Media | Related LIFT Aero Design Debuts Graphics to Raise Mask Awareness in Aviation – APEX Media



ThinKom Celebrates Ku3030 Milestones, Prepares for Interoperable Future

ThinKom announced that its Ku3030 antennas have been installed on over 1,550 commercial aircraft belonging to 16 airlines and have accrued over 17 million flight hours. The company also noted that its Ka-band antennas are now commercially available; they are currently nearing introduction on several commercial airline fleets. “We’re looking to a future that will be characterized by multiple frequency bands and satellite constellations,” said ThinKom CEO Bill Milroy, alluding to the ability of ThinKom’s Ku- and Ka-band IFC antennas to operate across LEO, MEO and GEO satellite constellations, as well as the company’s process of converting 2Ku systems to Ka-band for airlines seeking to transition.

ThinKom | Related ThinKom Completes Successful Antenna Interoperability Demonstrations on Ku-Band LEO Satellite Constellation – ThinKom





A General Electric GEnx engine looking particularly radiant. Captured by @lairdkay.

June 20 marked summer solstice, so this week we're featuring only the most sunny #APEXPOTDs.

> Tweet of the Day

Remember these?? #Throwback to simpler times and no @SeatGuru! #B707 #B727 #aviation #avgeeks #avgeek #PaxEx

Miami Rick @miami_rick


Association News

Three Cheers for the Winner of Quiz #3

Pete Williams, programme sales executive, Global Travel Markets at BBC Worldwide, placed first in today’s APEX Content Market Quiz. Hosted by Andy Grant, manager of Passenger Entertainment and Communications at Emirates, the third edition of the quiz focused on tech, travel and the time before COVID-19.


> Quote of the Day

"We need to adapt to support airlines as best as we can."

John White, CEO, Inflight Dublin
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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