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April 1, 2024



Today's Top Stories


Air Malta Replaced by KM Malta Airlines

Maltese flag carrier Air Malta has ceased operations after 50 years. It has been succeeded by KM Malta Airlines, a new state-owned carrier set to operate a fleet of eight Airbus A320s leased by Air Malta with less than 400 staff members. Air Malta's closure follows 20 years of financial losses, according to the country’s Finance Minister Clyde Caruana; and a refusal by the European Commission to approve a €300 million government bailout in 2023. KM Malta Airlines will initially fly to 17 airports across 15 European cities.

Times of Malta | Related Maltese flag carrier Air Malta folds, to be replaced by new airline – Reuters



AirBaltic Completes Ground Test for Starlink IFC

AirBaltic has conducted an initial ground test of SpaceX's Starlink in-flight connectivity (IFC) service onboard an Airbus A220-300 at its base in Riga, Latvia. The carrier is working with SpaceX on a supplemental type certificate and hopes to begin installing the IFC across its Airbus A220-300 fleet by the end of 2024. President and CEO of airBaltic Martin Gauss commented, “We are excited to lead the way in Europe by offering high-speed, unlimited, and complimentary in-flight connectivity onboard our flights.”  

AirBaltic | Related How Does Starlink Aviation Work & Which Airlines Use It? – Simple Flying



Southwest Acquires SAF Startup Saffire Renewables

Southwest Airlines has acquired sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production startup Saffire Renewables (Saffire) after becoming an investor in the project, which is supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE), in 2022. The company plans to utilize DOE technology to convert corn stover, an agricultural residue feedstock in the US, into renewable ethanol that can be upgraded into SAF. Saffire is now part of the airlines’ Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures subsidiary that is dedicated to creating more opportunities for Southwest to obtain scalable SAF.

Skift | Related Southwest Airlines spending $30 million on green fuel refinery, investment fund – Tech Xplore



IBCCES Awards Emirates Check-In Facilities with Autism Certification

Emirates has achieved a Certified Autism Center Designation for all Dubai check-in facilities from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). To achieve the certification, its facilities underwent audits that measured sensory inputs in public areas, such as sound levels, lighting, and potential sights and smells. These were used to develop sensory guides to empower travelers to make informed decisions. Furthermore, all check-in staff underwent specialized training on autism and sensory awareness. 

Emirates | Related Emirates embraces Easter onboard and in lounges – Breaking Travel News



Joyful Journey Priority Pass Venture to Open 90 Airport Lounges in Mainland China

A new joint venture between Collinson-owned Priority Pass and China’s Joyful Journey Group will see the creation of nearly 90 airport lounges for domestic travelers across mainland China, a subset of which will be available to international passengers. The venture will also entail the provision of a 24/7 Mandarin-speaking customer service. Collinson’s Global CCO and Asia Pacific President Todd Hancock stated, “As the travel market in mainland China is forecasted to recover at pace this year, it presents an incredible opportunity for growth and innovation.”

Business Traveller | Related Chase is removing Priority Pass restaurant access from three premium credit cards – CNN



Royal Air Maroc Signs IFE Repair Agreement with Thales

Royal Air Maroc has signed a Repair Maintenance Agreement for the in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems onboard its 787 Fleet with Thales Aerospace. The agreement will see the creation of an in-house repair capability for internal purposes at Mohammed V Airport, the carrier’s hub in Casablanca, Morocco. “This new agreement with a key player in the African market is a demonstration of the airline’s trust in Thales and recognizes the value of our maintenance support,” said Thales Aviation Global Services’ GM Europe Bertrand Drugeon. 

PAX International | Related How Thales is Innovating in Line with Current IFEC Trends – APEX Insights



Lufthansa Group Airlines Reintroduce Local Cuisine on Japanese Flights

Passengers traveling with Lufthansa Group airlines to Japan can once again enjoy traditional Japanese dishes including sushi, sukiyaki and soba during their flights. Lufthansa began serving a Japanese menu across all cabin classes in October 2023 on flights between its Frankfurt and Munich hubs and Tokyo. Business-class passengers on these routes are offered a range of “zensai” or small appetizers served in kobachi bowls; as well as a comforting soup and “konomono,” or Japanese pickles, after their main course. SWISS has also recently introduced Japanese menu choices in business class on flights to and from Tokyo.

Lufthansa Group | Related Brussels objects to Lufthansa ITA deal, remedies to come – CH-Aviation




Today's picture shows a marshal welcoming an Air India Boeing 777 aircraft at JFK. Via @edot7 Use #APEXPOTD for the chance to be featured in the APEX Daily Experience newsletter!

> Tweet of the Day

#Heathrow is taking to the skies! Introducing #HeathrowAirlines - where every seat is first class, and the onboard entertainment only features films referencing Heathrow. ✈️🎬 Ready for boarding? Let us know where you'd like us to fly to (we haven't worked out that part yet).

Heathrow Airport @HeathrowAirport


Association News

Shop the Online APEX Merchandise Store

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!


> Quote of the Day

“The risk going forward is that self-funded leisure travellers are buying a higher percentage of business and premium economy seats than ever before as business travel refuses to bounce back.”

Rob Burgess, Founder, Head for Points
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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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