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February 2, 2021



Today's Top Stories


[PHOTOS] JetBlue Reveals Transatlantic Mint Cabin Design

After four years of development in collaboration with Acumen Design Associates, JetBlue has unveiled an all-new Mint cabin that will take off when the airline begins transatlantic flights between New York and London. The layout consists of 24 customized VantageSOLO seats from Thompson Aero Seating in a 1-1 herringbone configuration with direct aisle access and sliding privacy doors. Two front row suites, known as “Mint Studio”, have been designed to offer the same experience as the popular “throne” seats available in existing Mint cabins. Spanning 22.7 square feet, JetBlue claims they offer more space than any other premium US airline experience.

APEX Media | Related How Acumen Makes Its Mark in the Congested Patent Space – APEX Media



PAL Cuts Workforce; United Employees At Risk of Furlough

Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced today it would part ways with 2,300 staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the industry, which represents approximately 30% of its workforce. PAL’s operating capacity has been hovering at less than 30%. Meanwhile, United has warned around 14,000 employees that they may be furloughed in April. The majority of these workers were recalled earlier this year after federal payroll support was renewed. “Despite ongoing efforts to distribute vaccines, customer demand has not changed much since we recalled those employees,” United said. American Airlines warned it may also explore a similar scenario.

Asian Aviation | Related United warns 14,000 employees their jobs are at risk in April, as airline unions push for third stimulus – Chicago Tribune



Qatar Forges Ahead With Thales IFE Upgrade

Qatar Airways is upgrading its Boeing 787-8 fleet with the latest Thales AVANT IFE system, which includes high-definition seatback touchscreens over twice as bright as the screens they replace, and servers that can store over one terabyte of content. The screen sizes will be 17 inches in business class and 12 inches in the main cabin. Thales is executing a retrofit plan that includes full-seat modification in a way that minimizes fleet downtime by incorporating the new AVANT screens and servers into existing seats and aircraft infrastructure.

Thales Group | Related THALES INTRODUCES READY TO FLY ­– Thales Group



American Airlines Expands Apple Partnership to Include E-Books

American Airlines has curated its own collection on Apple Books, which includes highlights from Oprah’s Book Club. Eligible AAdvantage members flying with American can download The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of Oprah’s most popular selections, for free. Alison Taylor, chief customer officer at American, hopes the book “will encourage thought-provoking discussions that are critical to eliminating the systemic racism Black Americans still face today.” Passengers can also watch an interview between Oprah and Coates on the Apple TV+ channel via American’s in-flight entertainment system, or view a custom reading guide to the book in American’s in-flight magazine.

American Airlines | Related Infight Entertainment – American Airlines



UK Steps Up Airline, Airport COVID-19 Testing, Verification

From February 4, British Airways (BA) will test the VeriFLY digital health passport app on flights between London and the US. “Through these trials, we hope to provide travellers and governments on both sides of the Atlantic with the tools and the reassurance they need to make safe travel possible,” said Sean Doyle, BA’s chief executive. Heathrow Airport is taking part in a four-week pilot program to provide insight into how rapid testing could be more widely deployed across the UK. It will see around 2,000 employees take rapid lateral flow tests. Positive test results will be cross-checked with a PCR test and employees will be instructed to self-isolate.

breaking travel news | Related Heathrow Trials COVID Testing for 2000 Staff ­– Travel Weekly



Sunwing Becomes First Canadian Airline to Receive Bailout

Low-cost leisure airline Sunwing and related firm Sunwing Vacations have received $292 million in liquidity courtesy of the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) administered by the Canadian government. The funds will be used to protect jobs and sustain operations. As part of the deal, the airline must deposit all money paid by customers for trips that were canceled due to the pandemic in a holding account until a consensus on refunds is established. Four Canadian airports are also eligible for LEEFF funding, but last year Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, said none of them would partake due to unfavorable interest rates.




SpaceX Targets Q4 For All-Civilian Mission

In what it calls the world’s first all-civilian mission, SpaceX will launch four private individuals on a Crew Dragon capsule into orbit around the Earth. The company seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help tackle childhood cancer. CEO of Shift4 Payments Jared Isaacman will command the spacecraft. Two of the seats are eligible to be won as part of a sweepstake currently running on the mission’s new website. All passengers will receive the necessary astronaut training.

Forbes | Related Crew – Inspiration 4





This is illustrator Marcelo Cáceres' take on the new crop of autonomous machines in aviation.

This week, we're featuring @infografia's' stunning creations for #APEXExperienceMag. 

> Tweet of the Day

Rosa Mae Willis Alford, the only female Tuskegee Airmen mechanic, taught school for decades in Beaver County. She earned an MBA from @michiganstateu and is 1 of 4 aviation pioneers featured on our autonomous, terminal-cleaning robots. #BlackHistoryMonth

Pittsburgh International Airport @PITairport


Association News

Virtual Expo 2021 Plans Launched

Following the huge success of last year's Virtual Expo which attracted 4,232 unique visitors from 111 countries, we launched FTE APEX Virtual Expo 2021, the most comprehensive global industry gathering of the year. Through our theme of relaunching global air transport, Virtual Expo 2021 will champion bold new ideas, solutions, collaborations and innovation efforts across the exhibition, conferences and networking activities to ensure we achieve an industry recovery that makes air transport even stronger. Click here to learn more and view our new website.


> Quote of the Day

"You cannot ignore financials, but you’ll never save your way out of a crisis."

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates
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 apex.aero 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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