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September 3, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Virgin Atlantic Unveils Leisure-Focused A350 Configuration

Virgin Atlantic is introducing a second configuration onboard five Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which are due to be delivered by June 2022. Designed for leisure customers, the cabins will be equipped with 397 seats: 16 Upper Class suites, 56 premium economy-class seats and 325 economy-class seats, 45 of which will be Economy Delight, offering extra legroom, priority boarding and advanced seat selection. The A350’s social space, known as The Loft, has also been redesigned. A smaller space, The Booth, will provide “lounge-style seating for two, separated by a single-leaf table,” and will feature two 27-inch touchscreen monitors.

Business Traveller | Related Virgin Atlantic turning green after signing up for Scottish air capture facility – The Scotsman



Virgin Galactic Temporarily Grounded by the FAA

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded Virgin Galactic while it investigates a “mishap” that occurred during SpaceShipTwo’s mission on July 11, which had Sir Richard Branson onboard. An article in The New Yorker that suggested the flight drifted off-course after take-off. In response, a spokesperson for Virgin Galactic commented, “Although the flight's ultimate trajectory deviated from our initial plan, it was a controlled and intentional flight path that allowed Unity to successfully reach space and land safely at our spaceport in New Mexico.” That company said it is cooperating fully with the FAA.  

BBC News | Related The Red Warning Light on Richard Branson’s Space Flight – The New Yorker



Australia Extends International Travel Ban to Mid-December

Australia has extended its ban on inbound and outbound international travel until December 17, when it hopes to have vaccinated 80% of its adult population. The move is an extension of the country’s “human biosecurity emergency period,” which was set to expire on September 17. Qantas is already selling flights to Los Angeles, Singapore and Vancouver starting December 18, but according to data from John Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Centre, currently under 30% of Australia’s adult population has been vaccinated thus far.

TravelPulse | Related John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center – John Hopkins University



GBA to Install Burrana’s USB In-Seat Power Solution

Hong Kong-based startup carrier Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) has selected Burrana to supply USB in-seat power on its Boeing 737-800 fleet. GBA has applied to operate flights to 104 destinations across Asia, including mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. It plans to have 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft in operation by 2022, and more than 30 by 2026. “Our ability to meet an aggressive modification timeline of fewer than six months was key for GBA to comply with EASA certification to be able to start commercial operations in early October 2021,” said Ryo Lee, Burrana’s director, Asia Pacific. 

Inflight Online | Related Meet the airline launching in the middle of the pandemic – Fortune



EasyJet, Uber Eats Partner to Reduce Post-Holiday Stress

EasyJet has released new research that shows 69% of passengers agree their top post-holiday annoyance is returning home to an empty fridge. To address this, the carrier has partnered with Uber Eats on a seatback promotion throughout September that offers passengers returning to London Gatwick and London Luton airports from abroad 50% off Uber Eats orders when they spend £20 (approximately $27). The two parties have created a special ‘Post-holiday Fridge Filler’ menu with UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, allowing users to top up on essentials with zero stress.

easyJet | Related easyJet introduces new cabin crew uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles – Future Travel Experience



Lufthansa Celebrates Introduction of First Airspace Cabin

Lufthansa’s first A321neo aircraft equipped with Airbus’ Airspace cabin will enter service tomorrow on the airline’s short- and medium-haul routes. The Airspace cabin, which will also be introduced by Lufthansa Group carriers SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings on new A320 family aircraft, offers enlarged overhead bins, Human-Centric Lighting programmed to sync with passengers’ biorhythms, and sidewalls offering passengers more shoulder space. "Regardless of the [pandemic], we continue to focus emphatically on a premium offering for our guests," said Heike Birlenbach, Lufthansa Group’s head of Customer Experience.

Lufthansa Group | Related A taste of Germany for Lufthansa’s business class flyers – Aircraft Interiors International



SWISS Updates First- and Business-Class Dining

For six months, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) will offer long-haul first- and business-class passengers a range of dishes previously featured in its SWISS Taste of Switzerland culinary program. This includes a starter of marinated lobster with pecorino cheese and cauliflower panna cotta and main of veal tenderloin with black truffle sauce created by Mike Wehrle of Bürgenstock Hotels & Resorts. Business-class passengers can now opt for casual dining, where their whole meal is delivered at once, and SWISS has introduced a bistro menu that's available on demand from after the main meal service until landing.

SWISS | Related SWISS airline tells all flight crew to take Covid-19 jab – SwissInfo





Face to face with a classic Boeing 737 in Stuttgart. Captured by @mennerphoto.aviation.

Use #APEXPOTD for the chance to be featured in the APEX Daily Experience newsletter!

> Tweet of the Day

Meanwhile, in Canada... Have a look at Iraqi Airways' first #A220 making its first appearance in the airline's livery!

Airbus @Airbus


Association News

FlightPlan III: C-Suite Week Content is Still Available On Demand!

You can catch up on FlightPlan III: C-Suite Week, co-developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX, on the FlightPlan website. Viewers can choose to watch BBC Presenter Aaron Heslehurst interview industry leaders including IATA's Willie Walsh, AirAsia's Tony Fernandes, Qatar Airways' Akbar Al Baker, TAP Air Portugal's Christine Ourmières-Widener and United Airlines' Scott Kirby. View the sessions now.


> Quote of the Day

“We looked at the price of PCR tests across 16 countries … We saw prices for the same test ranging from $27 in Kuala Lumpur to $278 in Tokyo.”

Willie Walsh, IATA
Read the article


Until next week



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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