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November 18, 2020

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Today's Top Stories
 

 
 
 

FAA Ends 737 MAX Grounding, Long Runway to Return to Service

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rescinded its grounding order on Wednesday, allowing the 737 MAX to return to service after 20 months of investigations and redesign. But getting the planes back into the air remains a challenging proposition. Significant work is required on the aircraft and pilots must undergo training in a full-motion simulator. Moreover, Canadian and Brazilian regulators are still reviewing the FAA’s guidance and other documentation before removing their own grounding orders. American Airlines is still expected to be the first carrier to bring the plane back to service, targeting Miami–LaGuardia on December 29.

BBC | Related Brazil edges toward approval of Boeing's 737 MAX after U.S. move – Reuters

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Virgin Australia Officially Relaunches

Virgin Australia fully transitioned to Bain Capital ownership this week and is ready for the next era of its operations. Positioned squarely as a “value carrier,” the company intends to keep its business class and extra legroom offerings, but is also considering significant changes to its in-flight entertainment and connectivity portfolio. New CEO Jayne Hrdlicka called for a strategic review of the company’s operations and business model as it seeks to understand what customers demand (and will pay for) as part of the suite of offerings. In-flight snacks are also shifting to a buy-on-board model from early 2021.

APEX Media | Related New Virgin Australia strategy spells end of business travel arms race – The Guardian

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JetBlue Gets a Mint Makeover

JetBlue’s Mint business-class offering scores a refresh this month, with new catering, bedding and other amenities on offer. While focused mostly on what the updates mean for Mint today, VP Marketing Elizabeth Windram also suggested that the updates are “a little teaser for what [they] have in mind” to deliver on the London service planned for a Q3 2021 launch. The revised Mint experience incorporates a completely new lineup of partners, including Delicious Hospitality Group, Tuft & Needle, Wanderfuel and Master & Dynamic.

The Design Air | Related 40 Success Stories: When JetBlue Made Sure the Cabin Was in Mint Condition – APEX Media

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Viasat’s Phased Array Antenna Set for O3b Testing

Satellite operator SES is ready to bring Viasat’s phased array antenna solution into the final testing program for the O3b constellation. The ability to instantly and seamlessly switch between satellites is a critical feature for delivering a reliable, consistent connection on the medium earth orbit (MEO) constellation. Like most phased array designs, the Viasat model is a modular system that can scale up or down in size, shift shape and be customized to fit the requirements of the station hosting it. For SES's O3b mPOWER MEO system, the phased array antenna will operate over the full ITU Ka-band spectrum. Conveniently, this could also extend to the company's own Ka-band satellites in the future.

paxex.aero | Related KLM selects Viasat inflight Internet for majority of European fleet – RGN

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Plusgrade’s Dynamic Seat Blocker Helps Airlines Address Obstacles

Airlines are striving to balance prioritizing passenger health and safety during the pandemic with the need to remain solvent. Plusgrade’s Dynamic Seat Blocker uses machine learning to target airline customers who are most likely to purchase empty seats, thus giving airlines an opportunity to generate ancillary revenue, while fulfilling passenger needs. “A blocked seat cannot 100 percent protect against the virus,” admitted Pramod Jain, chief operating officer at Plusgrade, adding that it can nonetheless be part of a constellation of factors that generate passenger confidence.

APEX Media | Related LATAM Sells Flight Certificates That Accrue Value Via Plusgrade Portal – APEX Media

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US, UK Secure Open Skies Deal

On January 1, 2021 the UK will no longer be party to the US-EU open skies agreement. But planes will continue to fly unfettered between the US and the UK thanks to a bilateral open skies deal signed this week. “The air services agreement will allow us to continue to travel and trade with one of our closest friends and allies, working together to mutually boost our economies, either side of the Atlantic,” UK State Secretary for Transport Grant Shapps said in a statement. “This is just one of many steps we’re taking as we move towards a bright new future at the end of the transition period.”

Airline Weekly | Related Air Partner Predicts Surge in Air Freight Due to New Customs Protocols for Trucks Post-Brexit – Aviation Pros

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Gategroup Launches ePax In-Flight Retail Portal With Easyjet

Some easyjet passengers will have a new way to shop on board this winter. The carrier is partnering with Gategroup to trial the ePax retail portal. ePax aims to deliver an intuitive, convenient and engaging way to access in-flight retail services, allowing passengers to browse, order and purchase products, all from their own mobile devices. The companies will also leverage data analytics from Black Swan Data to optimize shopping selections based on factors such as flight destination, flight duration and time of day, as well as insights generated by a wealth of in-flight retail data.

Gategroup | Related The Weekly Wrap: gategroup’s ePax digital airline retailing solution developed together with Black Swan Data – APEX Media

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> PHOTO OF THE DAY

 
 

In the latest #APEXExperienceMag, @paulsillers examines how in-flight diners are more conscious than ever before, but what’s on their minds has changed.

The 10.4 November/December 2020 issue of APEX Experience magazine is now available!
 
 

> Tweet of the Day

Today at 15:15, G-VGAL Jersey Girl is due to return to our home at @HeathrowAirport, for the very last time ⁣✈️⁣⁣ We can’t wait to see her 😍⁣

virginatlantic @VirginAtlantic

 
 
 

Association News

Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG, Profiled in the Latest Issue of APEX Experience Magazine

Since 2011, Candace McGraw has been the CEO of CVG, where she has led a team that reversed nine consecutive years of passenger decline, turning the US airport into one of the fastest-growing in the country for both passenger and cargo traffic. In the latest APEX Experience magazine C-Suite, we asked Candace to give us her take on the COVID-19 crisis and share the strategies she believes can ensure the economic survival of airports like hers.

 
 
 

FTE APEX Virtual Expo Exhibitors: Send Your News to APEX Media

Thousands of delegates are expected to attend FTE APEX Virtual Expo. This year, APEX Media's signature EXPO Daily Experience product has been reimagined as an all-digital endeavor. It will feature speaker insights, conference sessions, trending topics and exhibitor news – which is where you come in. Send your announcements to editor@apex.aero so they may be included in the dailies, which will be distributed to delegates and across FTE and APEX’s extensive social media and email networks. Learn more about APEX Media's editorial, advertising and custom video opportunities.

 
 
 

> Quote of the Day

“People are crying out for certainty, and if the airline can provide that, that’s valuable.”

Oliver Ranson, airline pricing expert
Read the article

 
 

Until tomorrow

 
 

ABOUT APEX

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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