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February 18, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Qatar Unveils Touchless IFE System

Passengers onboard Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 aircraft equipped with Thales AVANT seatback IFE systems can soon enjoy a zero-touch experience: scanning a QR code with a personal electronic device will allow it to be used as a remote control, eliminating physical contact with the IFE touchscreen. The airline also announced that passengers in all cabins on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft will be able to pair their own Bluetooth headphones with the IFE system, a feature it claims is a first in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said the new features bring “already rigorous and stringent COVID-19 precautions to another level.”

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



Business Travelers Welcomed at Changi

Singapore is now accepting applications for a program called Connect@Changi that will allow international travelers to conduct business in Singapore, provided they agree to remain in a controlled facility near Changi Airport for the duration of their stay. The Connect@Changi building will start small and grow to 660 guestrooms and 170 meeting rooms by May. At full capacity, the facility will be able to host 1,300 people. Visitors will be tested frequently and meetings with locals will need to be conducted behind floor-to-ceiling dividers.

American Journal of Transportation | Related Business 'bubble' travellers to arrive in Singapore from March, after month's delay – Business Times



Boeing 737 MAX Cleared for Takeoff in UAE

The United Arab Emirates' General Civil Aviation Authority officially ungrounded the Boeing 737 MAX after an extensive technical evaluation and a review of the requirements put forth by EASA, Boeing and the FAA. The authority’s director general, Saif Al Suwaidi, explained that airlines must update the aircraft’s MCAS system and pilot training procedures, as well as ensure operational readiness ahead of relaunch.

trade arabia | Related TUI To Become First European Airline To Resume MAX Flights – Simple Flying



Recaro Wants to Collaborate on a Sustainable Future for Aviation

In this instalment of APEX Media’s Op-Ed series, Expert Opinions, Recaro Aircraft Seating’s Sustainability Manager Andrea Häussermann shares her belief that aviation will only become truly sustainable if the industry comes together. As such, Recaro is working as part of the Airbus Cabin Supplier Council to measure the eco-efficiency of its aircraft seats and investing in new tools and methods to reduce CO2 emissions throughout their lifecycle. “A cohesive strategy, in tandem with the drive to innovate, will revolutionize the industry’s sustainability practices from gate to gate,” Häussermann said.

APEX Media | Related Expert Opinions – APEX Media



WestJet Introduces Inaugural Chief Medical Officer

Tammy McKnight, a Canadian doctor with 20 years of medical experience, was named WestJet’s first chief medical officer. She will oversee initiatives that improve the mental and physical health of staff and customers, advise on risk mitigation and ensure standards are being met or exceeded. This work was previously spread among multiple service providers and internal roles at WestJet. "Having been born and raised in Alberta, the opportunity to become WestJet's first chief medical officer is an honour," said Dr. McKnight.

WestJet | Related WestJet feeling the energy – Westjet



Amex Centurion: New Lounge at DCA, West Coast Expansion

A recent American Express (Amex) survey found that 62% of consumers would feel comfortable traveling by plane domestically over the next six months. With that in mind, the company is growing its network of Centurion lounges: An 11,500-square-foot facility featuring complimentary bar and food service, shower suites, noise-buffering workspaces and more will be built from the ground up at Washington DC’s Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). Existing lounges at Seattle (SEA) and San Francisco airports will be expanded. The Centurion Lounge at SEA will triple in size once relocated to the Central Terminal’s mezzanine, where guests can enjoy views of the airfield and Olympic Mountains from the atrium.

businesswire | Related First look at the brand-new flagship Amex Centurion Lounge at JFK – the points guy



Southwest Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Kindness Challenge

A new social media campaign launched by Southwest Airlines challenges customers, employees and partners to perform one million acts of kindness. People can sign the company’s Kindness Pledge and share their acts of kindness on social media using the hashtag #HeartinAction. These actions will be tallied throughout the year. Employees kicked off the challenge internally in mid-January and have collectively logged over 62,000 acts thus far.

Southwest Airlines | Related Acts of Kindness – Southwest Airlines





Illustrator Pablo del Cielo took a playful approach with his visuals for Can We Please Fly Commercial?

This week, we’re featuring some of our favorite illustrations from #APEXExperienceMag travelogues.

> Tweet of the Day

You can help those affected by the devastating winter weather that continues to impact the Central U.S. and beyond. Earn 10 miles for every dollar on @RedCross donations of $25 or more now through Feb. 28.

americanair @AmericanAir


Association News

COVID-19 Update Page: Keep Tabs on What's New

The coronavirus crisis has forced airlines, airports and governments to work together and find innovative solutions to restore traveler confidence and uphold the highest levels of safety. To keep tabs on industry goings-on, and trace its recovery, keep this page handy. It’s updated daily with insights courtesy of trusted news sources and stories from our exclusive network of members.


> Quote of the Day

“Aerospace is going to witness increased efforts around digitalization throughout the value chain."

Ralph Wagner, Axinom
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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