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February 8, 2021



Today's Top Stories


US Payroll Assistance May be Extended; Aer Lingus Accepts State Loan

The US House Financial Services Committee is reportedly set to propose an additional $14 billion for an extension of the payroll assistance program slated to expire March 31. The program has received $40 billion to date. Some US airlines have warned employees that furloughs may be necessary if the government financial aid program ends. Meanwhile, Aer Lingus has secured $180 million in state aid. The loan is payable over three years.

Reuters | Related Aer Lingus gets State loan as FBD looks to offload publican payouts – Irish Times



Cathay Introduces Mask Exemption for Lie-Flat Passengers

Customers flying in a premium Cathay Pacific cabin equipped with a lie-flat bed may remove their mask when lying down. The airline cites the high enclosures and greater passenger distancing in these cabins as reasons for the exception to the otherwise strict mask-wearing rules. Cathay also mentioned that the onboard filtration systems capture "99.9999 percent of dust particles, including virus and bacteria." Qatar Airways introduced a similar policy for business-class passengers.

Executive Traveller | Related Qatar Airways Will Make You Wear Face Shield And Mask – Forbes



KLM Flight Out of Amsterdam Achieves SAF Milestone

During an international conference on synthetic sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) today, KLM and Shell revealed that they used sustainably derived synthetic SAF in-flight, a world first. KLM operated a Boeing 737-800 from Amsterdam to Madrid with 132 gallons of the sustainable kerosene substitute, representing over 5% of the total fuel payload. The synthetic propellant was produced using a combination of carbon capture and solar and wind power.

BNN Bloomberg | Related World first in the Netherlands: first passenger flight performed with sustainable synthetic kerosene – KLM



Etihad Partnership Enhances Customer Communications

In a bid to upgrade its customer communication system and send travelers timely electronic notifications, Etihad Airways partnered with 15below. The platform is tied to the airline’s reservation system and uses booking data to deliver personalized itinerary updates and other info. “At a time when the rules are constantly changing, effective communication is absolutely key to passenger wellness,” said 15below’s CEO Nicholas Key, alluding to the uncertainties caused by COVID-19. British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and other airlines also use 15below’s services.

albawaba | Related Aegean case study: Automating passenger communications to transform operations and passenger experience – 15below



Billion-Dollar PIT Terminal Renovation Ready to Resume

Pittsburgh International Airport’s terminal modernization program will enter the next phase this spring after having been delayed nearly a year due to COVID-19. Construction managers noted that further delays could add millions to the cost of the project, which will modernize the outdated hub facilities and lower long-term costs for airlines. “It’s time to move forward with making Pittsburgh International Airport work smarter for this community and with making a difference in the recovery of the region and industry,” said CEO Christina Cassotis. The terminal is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Blue Sky Pit | Related What We’re Made Of: Christina Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport – APEX Media



Gulf Air Showcases Latest Aircraft

Gulf Air showcased the latest addition to its fleet on Friday when it took delivery of an Airbus A321neoLR, the second of 17 ordered in total. It features 150 economy seats and 16 lie-flat seats in Falcon Gold class. Bahrain’s flag carrier was the first airline in the Middle East to introduce fully flat beds on this aircraft type. Outside, the aircraft is designed with a 70th anniversary livery inspired by Gulf Air’s vintage brand aesthetic. “This addition will strengthen our position in the medium- to long-haul markets as it represents an upgraded product to offer best in class service to our passengers,” said Zayed R. Alzayani, chairman of Gulf Air’s board of directors.

Gulf Air | Related Gulf Air moves home to its brand new terminal in Bahrain, with new ground experience – The Design Air



Qantas Looks to Boost Sales With Service Upgrades

Qantas is introducing complimentary beer and wine in economy class across domestic and regional flights, with passengers able to order a limited-edition Qantas Centenary lager brewed by Lion Nathan. New hot meals will also be available from March onwards. Options such as gourmet beef pies, roast vegetable quiche and roasted chicken with tomato, garlic and lemon sauce will replace smaller snacks. The airline has also updated its booking policy. It now allows for unlimited flight date changes until at least January 2022 on all new domestic flights.

Qantas | Related Qantas upgrades economy meals and drinks – Executive Traveller





"When I started to travel for work, lie-flat seats became a regular part of life. I don't think I can ever take for granted being able to lie down on an airplane.”

This week, we’re featuring #AvGeekTreasures from Tiezheng Bu, a frequent flyer who documents his travels on YouTube under the name "Vicarious Voyager."

> Tweet of the Day

Big Monday Mood. #RaiseTheFlags #SuperBowl

Orlando International Airport @MCO


Association News

ACA/IFSA Announce Publication of In-Flight Service Guidelines

The highly-anticipated ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline is now published. The document represents the first time both parties have collaborated on a publication of this magnitude. By making it available online, free of charge, ACA and IFSA hope to support the global aviation and airline ‎catering industries as they continue to respond to the pandemic. “The guidelines illustrate the roles for various staff, as well as how to communicate externally with local and/or national government authorities, customers and suppliers,” said IFSA’s executive director, Lauren Costello. Learn more.


> Quote of the Day

“Members who volunteered for the working group brought their unique expertise to the development of the ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline.”

Lauren Costello, IFSA
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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