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February 5, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Deluge of Fake Masks Kept Out of US Market by CBP

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers dedicated to identifying counterfeit N95 respirators have seized nearly 15 million masks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. One batch of half a million fake masks intercepted in September had an estimated resale value of over $3 million. On top of depriving legitimate sellers of revenue, counterfeit masks pose a danger to frontline workers because they are typically not as effective, and have not undergone rigorous testing by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. "Allowing counterfeits like these to reach the public or our health care heroes is a risk we cannot take," said Troy Miller, director of CBP's New York field office.

CBS News | Related N95 Respirators, Surgical Masks, and Face Masks – FDA



Fiji Airways Reaches Highest Health Safety Standard

Recently, Fiji Airways completed the APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying audit and earned a Diamond certification, the highest level possible. The airline group’s Travel Ready scheme involves hundreds of health protocols. It introduced medically qualified Customer Wellness Champions to look after everyone’s well-being onboard and sanitizes all check-in luggage on international flights out of its home base. “Fiji Airways has proven that you do not need to be the largest airline to reach the Diamond ‘hospital-grade’ level, you just have to be relentlessly committed to safety,” said APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader.

Fiji Airways | Related APEX Health Safety Powered by SimpliFlying Sets New Gold Standard for Air Travel – APEX Media



Some Transatlantic Flights to Have More Control on Their Routes

UK air traffic control provider NATS and its partner Nav Canada will no longer implement an “organized track structure,” which can be likened to a highway system in the sky, on days with significantly less transatlantic flights than normal. Instead, airlines flying between the UK and US will be allowed to plan flights based entirely on their optimum route, speed and trajectory. According to research, this move could result in the reduction of total fuel burn by up to one sixth. Referencing COVID, Jacob Young, manager of Operational Performance at NATS, said, “The dramatic fall in traffic we’ve seen across the Atlantic has given us a window of opportunity to do things differently.

independent | Related Research reveals fuel savings possible from aircraft ‘surfing’ winds during transatlantic flights – Aerospace Testing International



JFK Releases VR Sightseeing Experience

To help travelers safely visit some of New York’s most beloved sights, Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport launched a virtual reality experience that offers a 360-degree look at Queens Unisphere, the Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Prospect Park Boathouse and the 191st Street Subway Station. The digital tour is enhanced by on-location sound. The content can be accessed by anyone via a browser. Those present at Terminal 4 can request VR goggles from the help desk to further augment the experience.

Metro Airport News | Related This Is New York – JFK Terminal 4



Tourists During First COVID Wave Singled Out in Study

A new study out of Scotland analyzed mortality rates in the countries most severely impacted by COVID-19 and found that international arrivals were correlated with more deaths compared to other risk factors like population density, age and environment. This partially explains the disproportionate impact on countries like France, Spain, Italy, the US and the UK during the beginning of the pandemic compared with nations that see lower tourism rates. Researchers concluded that travel restrictions should be considered “as part of a structured and rapidly instigated pandemic preparedness plan.”

forbes | Related Country-level determinants of the severity of the first global wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: an ecological study – BMJ Open



Autonomous Baggage Tractor Undergoes Testing at AMS

Royal Schiphol Group, Smart Airport Systems and KLM Ground Services are testing an autonomous baggage tractor at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol this month. Eventually, the robot will transport luggage to the aircraft autonomously. Schiphol plans to make other airport apron operations like passenger transport and aircraft towing autonomous by 2050 through a fleet of connected, emission-free vehicles. Rotterdam The Hague and Eindhoven airports will also be testing autonomous baggage tractors this spring.

Future Travel Experience | Related Cincinnati’s CVG Airport tests autonomous luggage tractor – Airport Technology



Mehmet Nane Elected as IATA Chair

Pegasus Airlines CEO Mehmet Nane will serve a three-year term as chair of IATA’s audit committee. He is also a member of the association’s board of governors. Commenting on the new responsibility, Nane said, “No matter how difficult the conditions are; as IATA, we will continue to work tirelessly with the aim of helping the airline industry operate safely, securely, efficiently and economically under clearly defined rules.” He has been at the helm of Pegasus for five years.

breaking travel news | Related Kontron and Immfly Soar With Pegasus Airlines – APEX Media





Illustrator Marcelo Cáceres designed this artwork for a story on how APEX members donate their time and money to charitable causes.

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

> Tweet of the Day

Change in capacity at the world's top 25 airports throughout 2020 ✈️🌎 View further data and insights here. #Aviation #Covid19

OAG @OAG_Aviation


Association News

APEX Members:

On January 27, APEX and Viasat hosted a revealing virtual thought leadership session that shed light on how the in-flight connectivity landscape has shifted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Viewers were also able to ask their questions live. Check out the event recap, and remember: APEX members can watch the full recording on-demand!


> Quote of the Day

“We’re shifting away from providing things for the sake of things and really drilling into what the brand’s core values are.”

Clarissa Sebastian, American Airlines
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 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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