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March 6, 2024



Today's Top Stories


Turkish Airlines Rules Out Return Of Premium Economy

Turkish Airlines has decided against reintroducing its 'Comfort Class' premium economy, opting to enhance its business class with the new 'Crystal' suite instead. The airline, having eliminated the Comfort Class in 2016, prefers a two-class configuration, focusing on upgrading passengers directly to its business class. The carrier had previously offered Comfort Class on Boeing 777s, featuring more space and enhanced dining. However, challenges like inconsistent cabin offerings across the fleet and an oversized premium economy section, coupled with lower demand, led to its discontinuation.

Executive Traveller | Related Turkish Airlines Rules Out Reintroduction of Premium Economy – Airways



JetBlue And Spirit Officially Give Up Merger Dream

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have called off their $3.8 billion merger agreement, which would have created the fifth-largest airline in the United States. Both airlines mutually decided to terminate the deal, citing the inability to meet necessary legal and regulatory approvals by the lapse date of July 24, 2024. The decision follows a January ruling by a U.S. District Court Judge, agreeing with the Department of Justice that the merger would be anti-competitive. Despite the stated intentions to appeal the judgement, Spirit's CEO, Ted Christie, attributed the failure to "current regulatory obstacles."

Airport Technology | Related JetBlue, Spirit Airlines call off $3.8 bln merger on antitrust hurdle – Reuters



European Airports' International Passenger Traffic Reaches Pre-Pandemic Levels

In January 2024, European airports reached 2019 international passenger volumes for the first time post-Covid, according to ACI EUROPE. Overall traffic increased by 7% from January 2023, with international travel fully recovering and domestic flights still 13% below 2019 figures. Major airports saw an 8.3% rise, fueled by strong transatlantic routes, Chinese travelers' return, and more capacity from network airlines. London Heathrow was the busiest, slightly leading over Istanbul Airport, with Heathrow aiming for a record 81.4 million passengers and Istanbul targeting 85 million in 2024.

Business Traveller | Related International air traffic reaches pre-pandemic levels in January – Business Travel News Europe 



Chinese IFEC Specialist FTS Prepares For Renewed Overseas Push

Beijing's FTS, an inflight entertainment and connectivity specialist, is rebounding after Covid-19 stunted its global expansion efforts. Hindered from attending overseas events and engaging with foreign clients during the pandemic, FTS is now optimistic about recovery, particularly with international travel nearing pre-pandemic levels. The company plans to exhibit at AIX 2024, signaling its re-entry into the global market. Despite setbacks, including a paused project with Qingdao Airlines, FTS has secured deals with Shandong and Shenzhen Airlines for its XstreamSAT connectivity solution. It aims to complete deliveries and certifications in 2024, emphasizing its readiness to meet the international market's evolving digital demands.

Runway Girl Network | Related Intelsat makes the case for multi-orbit IFC versus LEO-only – Runway Girl Network 



Cathay Pacific Enhances Inflight Dining With Duddell's "Hong Kong Flavours"

Cathay Pacific has elevated its inflight dining by collaborating again with Michelin-starred Duddell's to introduce a "Hong Kong Flavours" menu for First and Business class passengers on select long-haul flights from Hong Kong. This menu features Cantonese and regional Chinese cuisines, blending traditional dishes with modern twists. Aimed at showcasing Hong Kong's culinary richness, the partnership highlights the airline's dedication to offering unique dining experiences that connect travelers to the city's vibrant food scene. From crystal pork terrine and sautéed abalone in First class to Sichuan-style poached chicken and braised pork ribs in Business class, the menu offers an exquisite taste of Hong Kong's essence at 30,000 feet.

Travel Wires | Related Cathay Pacific debuts elevated first, business class menus – Executive Traveller



Munich Airport Introduces Innovative JEEVES Service Robot

Munich Airport has launched the world's first airport "snackbot," JEEVES, offering passengers the convenience of shopping from a self-driving service robot. Originally intended for hotels and healthcare, JEEVES provides chilled soft drinks and snacks with cashless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and major credit cards. It autonomously navigates Terminal 2's gate areas, pausing for nearby passengers. The year-long trial by Terminal 2 Gesellschaft aims to enhance logistics, gauge passenger acceptance, and enrich travel experiences, aligning with the airport's innovation hub status.

International Airport Review | Related Munich marks world first with its 'snackbot' – Regional Gateway



Velana International Introduces RFID Tagging And Smart Gate Services

The Maldives Customs Service and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) have launched smart gate services at Velana International Airport, enhancing luggage screening with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. This modernization replaces manual bag checks and sticker indications for additional inspection. Travelers with RFID-tagged luggage must pass through the airport's Red Channel for customs clearance, with an alarm system in place to prevent unauthorized exits, streamlining the customs process and improving security measures.

Passenger Terminal Today | Related Velana International Airport Revolutionizes Entry with Smart Gates: Enhanced Security and Efficiency – BNN




Today's picture comes from @donaldmac717, showing a Japan Airlines Boeing 767-346(ER) aircraft with the Colorful Dreams Express livery.

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Association News

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Surprise your colleagues and team with thoughtful gifts from the APEX Store. It's the perfect way to express your appreciation and support for our wonderful APEX community. Start Shopping today!


APEX Content Market | 26-27 March 2024 | Lisbon

APEX Content Market provides an intimate and productive setting for all airline content needs, including the best in TV, movies, games, GUIs, apps and audio! As the only global industry event focused on connecting in-flight entertainment content buyers with worldwide content distributors, APEX Content Market is your chance to browse the dynamic show floor to get ahead on planning your in-flight content for the upcoming year. Registration is now open!


> Quote of the Day

"Demand generally remained resilient [in January] in the face of much increased air fares, even though the growth dynamic slowed down or even stalled in a few markets. This is adding further divergences to an already much fragmented airport market, where geopolitics and structural aviation market changes – including the primacy of leisure demand and selective low-cost carrier expansion – are shaping traffic performance like never before."

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE
Read the article


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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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