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October 23, 2023



Today's Top Stories


Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker To Step Down

Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, has announced his plans to resign in 2023, concluding a 27-year tenure that witnessed the airline’s transformation from a regional entity to a global competitor. Al Baker has been pivotal in the airline’s ascent globally. APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader remarked, “Qatar Airways GCEO Akbar Al Baker has elevated the passenger experience to an apex in the aviation world… his unparalleled positive impact, visionary leadership, and ceaseless inspiration will continue to resonate throughout our industry.”

AeroTime | Related Akbar Al Baker to step down as Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Al-Meer named successor – Hindustan Times



United Airlines Will Now Board Window Seat Passengers First

Starting October 26, United Airlines will reintroduce its WILMA boarding procedure (window, middle, aisle) to simplify the boarding process and save about two minutes per flight. Joe Leader, CEO of APEX, commented, “One of the most inefficient things on every aircraft is... the ‘seat shuffle’. It’s the least attractive aerial ballet on the planet. And I like anything that makes it simpler for customers.” The system was used broadly until 2017 and will now be implemented on all domestic flights and some international ones.

Chicago Sun-Times | Related Here’s when United Airlines’ boarding process for flights will change – NBC Chicago



Iberia Set To Increase Baggage Capacity For A320 Family Fleet

Iberia is increasing overhead storage capacity by 60% in its A320 fleet with the introduction of Airspace L compartments. These compartments are compatible with the Airspace XL series in Iberia’s wide-body fleet, enhancing the passenger experience and reducing maintenance costs due to shared components. The upgrades can be completed in 3-5 days, reducing aircraft downtime. Alberto García, Iberia’s Fleet Planning Director, highlighted the improved customer experience and faster boarding. The retrofit will be executed at Iberia Maintenance facilities at Madrid Airport.

Aviacionline | Related Iberia to increase A320 hand luggage capacity with new Airbus L bins – Business Traveller



Stellar Blu ESA Package Could Ease Boeing Linefit

Stellar Blu Solutions, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is advancing with its electronically steerable antenna (ESA) to support inflight connectivity, including on Boeing aircraft. During the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO, Panasonic Avionics confirmed their collaboration with Stellar Blu’s multi-orbit ESA. Stellar Blu is aligning with Boeing’s inflight connectivity provisions, and hardware is expected by 2024. The company’s focus is on a multi-orbit solution compatible with both LEO and GEO. Although some competitors embed modems in antennas, Stellar Blu’s approach keeps them separate, which could be favorable for Boeing linefit operations.

Runway Girl Network | Related Boeing eyes IFC provision tweaks to facilitate Stellar Blu ESA – Runway Girl Network



British Airways Moves To Revenue-Based Avios Earning

British Airways (BA) has changed its Avios reward miles calculation for frequent flyers. Previously based on distance flown, it now considers the ticket price and additional spending, earning between six and nine Avios per £1 spent depending on the Executive Club membership tier. Many airlines have switched to revenue-based earning, benefiting those flying business or first class. BA’s change means long-haul business travelers will earn more Avios, but short-haul economy flyers will earn less. The system remains unchanged for spending Avios or collecting Tier Points.

Executive Traveller | Related Qantas unlocks thousands of reward seats, with a catch – Executive Traveller



Lufthansa Partners With Airbus And Munich Airport For Power-To-Liquid Fuel Research

Lufthansa has partnered with entities including Airbus and Munich airport to accelerate research on Power-to-Liquid (PtL) aviation fuels. PtL, viewed as a future Sustainable Aviation Fuel, uses renewable electricity, water, and atmospheric CO2 to create fuel. The collaboration aims to test pure PtL for the approval process and assess its environmental benefits. Currently, Sustainable Aviation Fuels reduce emissions by up to 80%. The World Travel and Tourism Council urges global governments to incentivize these fuels due to the gap between demand and production.

Business Traveller | Related Lufthansa Airlines, DLR, Airbus, MTU Aero Engines and Munich Airport sign Letter of Intent – Airline RGS



UK Government Seeking Innovations To Detect Explosives And Drugs

The UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is searching for advanced technological solutions to enhance detection of explosives and drugs. Current methods have limitations in detection accuracy and substance range. DASA’s focus is on two areas: using atomic magnetometers for detecting nuclear quadrupole resonance signals from such substances and exploring the potential of ionizing radiation to produce detectable free radicals in explosives. DASA is keen on technologies between readiness levels 3 to 6, aiming to bridge existing market capabilities with budding innovations.

Passenger Terminal Today | Related Toronto Pearson Airport tests autonomous perimeter inspection system – Passenger Terminal Today




Today’s picture comes from @miamispotter, featuring a United Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft.

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

> Tweet of the Day

I liked the @British_Airways lounge at @flySFO . The food offering is solid, and the bar is well equipped. But the best part is the Signature Cocktails corner and the secret pathway to the jetway, allowing passengers to board the plane directly from the lounge. #PaxEx

Enrique Perrella @Enrique77W


Association News

Call for APEX TECH Panelist & Moderator Nominations

The Technology Committee is seeking speakers and ‎facilitators for the APEX TECH taking place 28-29 February ‎‎2024 in Los Angeles, California, USA.‎ Speaker, panelist, and moderator nominations are being accepted now and will be curated by the ‎Technology Committee. Self-nominations are also welcome.‎ The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 1 November 2023.‎ Click here to learn more and submit your nomination.


Register for FTE APEX Asia Expo – Preparing for Tomorrow’s World

FTE APEX Asia Expo, 8-9 November 2023, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore, is the largest free-to-attend passenger experience and business performance expo for the air transport industry. It will provide a unique platform for the industry's most innovative suppliers from across Asia and further afield to come together to showcase their latest products, services and solutions designed to help airlines improve end-to-end customer experiences, reduce costs, increase revenues, and enhance sustainability and operational efficiency. The networking and business development opportunities are immense, and our AI matchmaking app, powered by Swapcard, provides incredible access to the most progressive companies in the industry, with whom you can connect to help redefine your organization’s passenger experience and business performance strategies. Learn more and register.


> Quote of the Day

“After 27 years of service, I am writing to you to announce that I will step down from the Qatar Airways Group. In 1996, with a fleet of just five aircraft, unwavering dedication, and a loyal and passionate team, together we embarked on a remarkable journey to aviation excellence.”

Akbar Al Baker, departing Qatar Airways CEO
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The next newsletter will be out 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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