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February 22, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Engine Failure Leads to Grounding of Some Boeing 777s

An incident involving a Boeing 777 powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines has led the airframer to recommend the grounding of all 128 aircraft matching those specs as the FAA and NTSB investigate. Of the 69 in service, 24 are operated by United Airlines, and others fly out of Japan and Korea. On Saturday, a United flight out of Denver airport suffered a right-side engine failure minutes after takeoff, shedding debris over suburban neighborhoods. The aircraft turned around and landed safely, and no one was injured. On that same day, a cargo aircraft in the Netherlands powered by a smaller variant of the engines under investigation suffered a similar issue.

USA Today | Related Boeing 747 cargo plane drops engine parts in Netherlands – NBC News



SmartSky Networks Raises $32 Million in Additional Capital

SmartSky Networks has secured $32 million in additional equity and debt funding from its “institutional investors” ahead of the launch of its next-generation air-to-ground in-flight connectivity service this year. Honeywell Aerospace will provide the solution for commercial aviation customers, while the business aviation solution will be provided by Satcom Direct. “We are moving forward with specific channel partners and specific aircraft initially and expanding that through STCs [supplemental type certificates] as quickly and methodically as we can,” said David Helfgott, CEO, SmartSky Networks.

runway girl network | Related SmartSky Networks files IP lawsuit against former radio contractor – Aircraft Interiors



US Airlines Announce Support for Contact Tracing Program

US airlines including Alaska, American, Southwest and Hawaiian have committed to collecting data from passengers traveling into the country as part of a voluntary international contact tracing program and relaying it to the CDC. Delta and United have been doing so since last December, with United stating that most international passengers have willingly provided their contact details. “We are hopeful that this measure, coupled with existing testing requirements for passengers flying to the U.S., will lead policymakers to lift travel restrictions,” said Nick Calio, president and CEO at Airlines for America.

AP news | Related Major US Airlines Announce Support for International Contact Tracing Program – Airlines For America



Experience-Driven Ancillaries to Aid Airline Recovery, Says Plusgrade

“There’s a way to sell more while making your customers happy,” said Pramod Jain, Plusgrade’s COO. He firmly believes that the travel industry needs to invest in ancillary products that deliver incredible customer experiences, which in turn will drive revenue recovery and customer loyalty. According to Jain, experience-driven ancillary programs will come out on top in the new business landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many of our partners’ programs are already outpacing the revenue recovery of their core ticket sales by more than 25%.”

APEX Media | Related Stumbling Block: Plusgrade’s Dynamic Seat Blocker Helps Airlines Address Obstacles – APEX media



Contenders Prepare for Zero Emissions Challenge

Organizers of the Freedom Flight Prize, a competition that will see entrants attempt to operate the first carbon-free transatlantic flight, announced its first contenders. ZeroAvia, Okulu Aerospace and The ePlane Company will use hydrogen and electric propulsion systems to fly a 100-seat aircraft nearly 3,500 miles within 24 hours. Organizers expect the sponsor-leveraged prize fund to exceed $14 million by 2025 and hope to crown a winner by 2029.

business travel news europe | Related Seawater greenhouses; the “insect apocalypse”; and zero carbon flight – ABC



Vanderlande Powers Centralized Security Screening at CLT

As part of a $600-million terminal expansion at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Vanderlande designed and installed five automated screening lanes. They allow for remote screening, so that the airport can centralize operations and improve efficiency. Furthermore, their modular design simplifies the transition from AT X-rays to CT technology. Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s executive VP, Airports, said the company is “looking forward to building on this new collaborative relationship which will help the airport reach its objectives, as well as provide a seamless screening experience to its passengers.”

passenger terminal today | Related Vanderlande introduces new self-service application for security checkpoints – Vanderlande



Rex 737 Business-Class Cabin Has a Familiar Look

With its domestic service debut one week away, Regional Express (Rex) provided a glimpse inside its newly-leased Boeing 737. The aircraft was acquired from Virgin Australia’s surplus jets and rebranded. The eight business-class seats have been left untouched, still arranged in a 2-2 configuration and featuring 38 inches of pitch. There are also five rows of premium-economy seats that provide more legroom. The jet will operate a Sydney–Melbourne route beginning March 1.

executive traveller | Related Rex Airlines: new planes and uniforms for Sydney-Melbourne flights – Escape





Lucky Lady II, a United States Air Force Boeing B-50 Superfortress, sits at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

This week, we're celebrating the first airplane to circle the world nonstop. The journey began on February 26 and took 94 hours to complete.

> Tweet of the Day

We recently installed over 400 Zenky Plus seating solutions & 200 Boost Power Modules during the first phase of @DENAirport's B-West Concourse expansion, with more to follow ✈️ #aviation

Zoeftig @ZoeftigSeating


Association News

Learn More about Future Travel Experience Global

Future Travel Experience is excited to stage FTE Global again this year, which will place a big focus on the Americas from a content and attendance perspective. Our 15th anniversary show will return on 8-10 September 2021 at the ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, where the most forward-thinking air transport industry experts will come together to learn, collaborate and be inspired on their next moves to transform their organisations’ passenger experience and business performance strategies. Learn more.


> Quote of the Day

“This new ad serving functionality ... provides an almost immediate transition between ad and entertainment content in comparison to the earlier generation.”

Linda Oglesbee, IdeaNova Technologies
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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