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August 31, 2020



Today's Top Stories


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


United Permanently Scraps Change Fees

Yesterday, United Airlines announced it would no longer charge change fees on all ticket classes except basic economy. The policy is only applicable to flights within the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The airline’s current blanket free itinerary change policy is effective on all new tickets purchased through December 31. Scott Kirby, the airline’s CEO, said that historically, the airline tended to introduce new fees upon emerging from an economic crisis. “United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook,” he said, commenting on the recent announcement. The airline will introduce another change as of January: Customers holding tickets of any fare type can fly standby on an earlier flight that day at no additional cost, provided a seat is available.

United Airlines | Related United Airlines Will Start Canceling Empty Flights – One Mile At A Time



TUI Passengers Asked to Quarantine After Several Test Positive

All passengers and crew who flew on an August 25 TUI flight from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff, Wales, are being asked to quarantine for 14 days after it was discovered that seven of the travelers on board may have been infected with COVID-19. As Public Health Wales began alerting travelers, the number of confirmed cases rose to 16; it was unclear where they had contracted the virus. Passengers claimed that mask-wearing was not being enforced and many people were moving around the cabin. TUI is launching a full investigation.

BBC | Related Thirty Brit teens linked to coronavirus outbreak after coming back from Zante holiday – The Sun



Thai Airways Investigation Uncovers Corruption at Thai Airways

Thailand’s deputy transport minister Thaworn Senneam revealed the findings of an investigation into Thai Airways, which is currently seeking $2.2 billion in state aid. The report reveals instances of mismanagement and corruption that contributed to the airline’s downfall. Thaworn criticized the company’s decision to acquire a fleet of Airbus A340s as every flight on the Bangkok–New York route lost money. Instances of bribery, kickbacks and unusually high employee expenses and overtime pay were also uncovered.

Bangkok Post | Related Thai Airways heavily criticised by government minister – Business Traveller



Changi Launches Home Food Delivery Service

Non-travelers can now order food from over 30 of Changi Airport’s restaurants through the new Changi Eats platform, with more outlets slated to join soon. The airport says diners will not be charged markups or service fees, and delivery across the island of Singapore is free. Customers can order meals, snacks, desserts and wine from up to five separate outlets at a time and earn Changi Rewards points. James Fong, vice-president of Landside Concessions, Changi Airport Group, said the initiative helps support local small and medium enterprises.

Changi Airport | Related Changi Airport Food Delivery Service FAQ – Changi



American Airlines Will Operate at Nearly Half Capacity in October

American Airlines announced its projected flying capacity for October: It plans to operate at 45% of last October’s load factor. The airline also announced the addition of 20 seasonal point-to-point routes to Miami, Phoenix, Mexico and other warm destinations. The majority of these flights are scheduled on Saturdays. Last week, American joined Southwest and Delta airlines in warning of massive layoffs come October if the CARES Act is not renewed.

The Hill | Related American Airlines Adds Warm Weather Winter Routes – One Mile At A Time



US and British Equity Firms Take Over Swissport

In a restructuring move aimed at securing Swissport’s long-term survival, the company’s owner HNA Group finalized a debt-for-equity swap worth $956 million with a consortium of American and British private equity firms that now own the company. The package will wipe over $2 billion in debt from Swissport’s books. Managers at the newly fortified company are hoping to poach business from more fragile rivals. Swissport saw sales fall by 70% between March and the end of June, which led to an $80-million loss.

Swiss Info | Related Swissport agrees on comprehensive restructuring – AJOT



KLM’s Transformation Office Ensures Innovation Permeates Entire Operation

The staff employed by KLM’s Transformation Office are set to deploy many new initiatives that prioritize interdisciplinarity. They fostered an innovation ecosystem that sets the framework for cross-divisional talent to come together and solve problems. Recently, this brought KLM’s Engine Services and Component Services departments together to set a common vision for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing. In October, KLM will kick off a data algorithm development program for cargo customers, with the help of data science students. Arlette van der Veer, project manager, Radical Innovation at KLM, says that out-of-the-box thinking is crucial as current legacy mindsets are hampering innovation.

Future Travel Experience | Related Polar Wear: KLM’s Emergency Aluminum Suits – APEX Media





Ever think about passersby in the airport and the lives they lead? Mustafa Çankaya’s 100faces100countries project explored this theme at ISL before it closed to commercial passenger flights.

This image was featured in a photo essay in a previous issue of APEX Experience magazine. 

> Tweet of the Day

Meet Joe and Margrit Fahan, married and recently retired Delta pilots who chronicle their travels on their popular Instagram account, @flyingfahans.



Association News

Does Your Product Belong in the APEX Media COVID-19 Solutions Handbook?

APEX Media is putting together a compendium of 100 COVID-19 solutions, to appear online and in the next issue of APEX Experience magazine. Does your company have an innovative solution that can help airlines and airports be more hygienic, inspire confidence in travelers or otherwise navigate the increasingly complex post-pandemic landscape? This is your last week to let us know! Send a message and include a product description and image for the chance to be included in this industry resource.


Tap Into a Global Audience: Exhibit at FTE APEX Virtual Expo!

The FTE APEX Virtual Expo has been designed to attract buyers of inflight passenger comfort and catering products and services, which will be showcased in the dedicated ‘Inflight’ exhibition hall. Book your booth now!


> Quote of the Day

"Composites can be structurally compromised by damage, but this is not always visible.”

Ben Orson, managing director, JPA Design
Read the article


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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