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April 26, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Plans to Ease International Travel Restrictions Grow Apace

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has raised hopes about the reintroduction of EU-US travel following a statement she gave to the New York Times. “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines ... This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union.” Elsewhere, the delayed Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble is set to begin on May 26, starting with just one flight per day in each direction. The bubble was meant to be formed in November 2020, but was pushed back following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

New York Times | Related Singapore and Hong Kong to open travel bubble – BBC



OneWeb Celebrates Successful Satellite Launch

OneWeb has successfully launched 36 satellites from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch marks the third in a five-launch program, ‘Five to 50,’ which will enable OneWeb to activate its services across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada before the end of the year. The company now has a total of 182 satellites in orbit, which represents 60% of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.

OneWeb | Related OneWeb, SpaceX satellites dodged a potential collision in orbit – The Verge



Aeromexico Updates Order Book with Boeing

Aeromexico has reached an agreement with Boeing that will see it add 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and four 787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet. The jets are scheduled for delivery throughout this year and next. The airline estimates that this new agreement will result in savings of approximately $2 billion, which will allow Aeromexico to offer customers more competitive fares. Andres Conesa, Aeromexico's CEO, stated, “These transactions … will also give us flexibility to complete other negotiations and put Aeromexico on a strong path to exit Chapter 11 later this year.” 

Aeromexico | Related Aeromexico shares rise more than 22% after restructuring deals – Nasdaq



Ethiopian, Virgin Atlantic Test IATA Travel Pass

Yesterday, Ethiopian Airlines became the first African airline to test the IATA Travel Pass on flights from Addis Ababa to Washington DC and Toronto, as well as services from London and Toronto to Addis Ababa. Virgin Atlantic has also begun a month-long trial of the app on flights from London Heathrow to Barbados. Both IATA and the airlines are advocates of digital health passports. Virgin Atlantic’s chief customer and operating officer, Corneel Koster, said, “The current paper-only-based processes [in the UK] will not be viable as customer numbers increase.”

Ethiopian Airlines | Related Virgin Atlantic launches live trial of IATA Travel Pass – Business Travel News Europe



Ryanair Continues Battle Against OTAs

Ryanair has launched two new tools, Price Checker and Verified Seal, which are available via its website and mobile app. Price Checker allows those who booked through an online travel agent (OTA) to check the amount paid to Ryanair for their booking versus the amount charged by the OTA. Displayed as a branded tick, Verified Seal guarantees that users are booking directly through the Ryanair website or app. Dara Brady, Ryanair’s director of Marketing, said, “Ryanair has no commercial agreements with online travel agencies to sell Ryanair flights.”

Ryanair | Related Ryanair boss slammed by travel trade for ‘illegal’ comments – Travel Weekly



Qantas Develops Special Gin for Centenary Cocktails

Qantas has teamed up with Melbourne-based craft distillery Four Pillars to create QF100, a new gin to commemorate the carrier’s centenary. The gin features botanicals sourced from the region surrounding Longreach, Qantas’ birthplace, which were foraged for under the guidance of local indigenous elder Suzanne Thompson. Qantas will feature the gin in the “Longreach Fizz,” a signature centenary cocktail available to passengers in select airport lounges. “The QF100 gin features a label with grey strips to replicate the vertical corrugated iron from the original Qantas hangar at Longreach,” said Stephanie Tully, Qantas’ chief customer officer.

PAX International | Related School students from Qantas birthplace, Winton, pitch big ideas to airline CEO Alan Joyce – ABC News



BA Confirms Permanent Closure of Elemis Travel Spas

Pre-COVID-19, British Airways (BA) operated Elemis Travel Spas at London Heathrow and John F. Kennedy International airports. The spas offered those flying in its BA First and Club World classes, as well as Gold-level Executive Club members flying long-haul, access to complimentary 15-minute treatments. BA has confirmed that its Elemis Travel Spas will not reopen after the pandemic, stating, “We’re proud to work with Elemis, a brand our customers love, and we continue to provide their products on board our flights ... Over the coming months we will be reviewing new propositions to support our customers’ health and wellbeing pre-flight.”

Business Traveller | Related XpresSpa Sees A New Future In Integrated Travel Healthcare – Forbes





Departure out of Heraklion. Captured by @gabriel_inflight.

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> Tweet of the Day

A new player has entered the game. In the first deal of its kind by a major airline, Etihad has inked a long-term partnership with world champion esports team @TeamNigma

Etihad Airways @etihad


Association News

APEX Tech Sessions Return to Virtual Expo OnDemand Zone

For three decades, the APEX Technology Committee has taken responsibility for identifying and educating the industry about technologies impacting the passenger experience. At this year's FTE APEX Virtual Expo, the APEX Technology Committee will host a range of sessions on topics from in-flight connectivity in a post-recovery environment to the current state of programmatic advertising and dynamic content delivery. Learn more.


> Quote of the Day

"With Paradym, there are more options to customize the color, material and finish."

Daniel Baron, LIFT Aero Design
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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